Whereas, Section 84362 of the California Education Code, commonly known as the “50% law,” is an artifact of the K-12 educational system of which community colleges were originally a part, designed to reduce district expenditures on administrative salaries with the goal of reducing class size to improve instructional outcomes;
Whereas, This law was based on a model of instruction in which “Education takes place in a classroom that is manned by a skilled teacher” and on the belief that “the trend, especially in urban areas, toward removing classified personnel from the classroom and placing them in non-classroom positions should be discouraged,” as stated in the report An Analysis of School District Expenditures for Certificated Personnel Salaries by the Senate Fact Finding Committee on Governmental Administration (1959), but that model does not take into account current academic methodologies requiring extensive and costly infrastructure and support personnel such as computer technology, technical support staff, and other resources, nor does it include counselors or librarians, all of which are counted as “non-instructional” expenses under the current 50% law calculations in spite of their critical role in ensuring successful educational outcomes for students;
Whereas, Higher education in general and the California community colleges in particular have become subject to legal, regulatory, and accreditation requirements relating to numerous areas such as instructional support services for the disabled, financial aid to students, counseling services, library services, and other areas, all of which directly affect the ability of students to succeed in college; and
Whereas, The current accounting methods used by the State to track expenditures of community college districts create an artificial distinction between “instructional” and “non-instructional” expenses and do not distinguish effectively between those expenses which directly impact the educational experience of students (whether by providing support for academic assignments or by providing support for students’ ability to succeed in those courses) and those expenses which, while necessary, do not have such direct impact on the educational experience of students and which could reasonably be considered “administrative”;
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges work with the Chancellor’s Office and other stakeholders to recommend changes to state accounting methods and the MIS reporting system for community college finances that will more accurately track expenses which directly impact the education of students by providing support for academic assignments or by providing support for their ability to succeed in those courses, as well as standard definitions of and reporting methods for administrative expenses; and
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges work with the Chancellor’s Office to track these expenses to gather more accurate data on the average cost of administration in community colleges across the state, and share this data with local senates and other interested parties to better inform discussions about budgets and particularly about administrative expenditures both at the local level and systemwide.
MSC Disposition: Chancellor’s Office, Local Senates
This resolution has been addressed by the new MIS codes for student services.