Budget cuts tough on DVC students


Staff writer Travis Wonacott (The Inquirer 2010)

The budget cuts that hit DVC have put me into a world with no answers.

They are “down right bloody,” as my boss says.  

When I returned this semester, I found tutoring through Disability Support Services had been cut by 100 percent. There went my math class, where I needed a tutor to achieve success, both to keep my federal work study job and to transfer to San Francisco State University.

On April 21, the day I had to drop my math class, I also lost my federal work study jobs with buildings and grounds because I had fallen below the required six-unit minimum. This means a loss of up to $600 in income each month.

I’m not alone in my anger, fear and dread of the future.

Sophia Moré is the single mother of a 4-year-old boy who depends on CalWORKS, a program that supports parents on welfare.

CalWORKS took a 39 percent budget hit spring semester, and Moré’s parent grant dropped from $200 to $100 a month. It had provided her with childcare and paid for books and supplies.

Moré said she is frustrated when she attends EOPS/Care meetings and leaves with the impression she “should be lucky for the crumbs.”

Another student, Pamela Mann, said she depends on prayer to get through the cuts.
The mother of a 5-year-old daughter, she also lost services previously provided by CalWORKS. As a result, Mann has moved from a one-bedroom unit to a two-bedroom unit in hopes of getting a roommate to share expenses. If not, she won’t be able to return to school in the fall.

Lili Guo, an international student from China, said her transfer will be delayed by a year, because she couldn’t get into a required math class, because budget cuts have resulted in fewer sections and closed classes.

Another international student, Mako Komano from Japan, will see her fees go up from the current $248 per unit to $300, beginning this summer. She said the increase is particularly difficult because she lacks the level of English skills needed for campus jobs.

These stories underscore why I joined thousands of community college students March 22 in Sacramento to protest the community college budget cuts. After filming most of the event, I edited the footage and got it on You Tube.

My hope is that more people will support those of us so affected by these cuts in funding for higher education. If change doesn’t happen soon, many of us will have to drop our plans for a college degree.


Contact Travis Wonacott at [email protected]