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Budget and Policy Post
April 11, 2018

The 2018-19 Budget

California Community Colleges State Operations

In this post, we provide background on the California Community Colleges (CCC) Chancellor’s Office and then discuss the Governor’s proposal to provide a $2 million augmentation for 15 new positions within the office.


Chancellor’s Office Provides System Leadership and Oversight. The 17-member CCC Board of Governors, appointed by the Governor, sets policy and provides guidance for the 72 districts and 114 colleges that constitute the CCC system. The board selects a chancellor for the system. The chancellor functions as the chief executive officer of the Chancellor’s Office. The Chancellor’s Office conducts a formal consultation process with CCC stakeholder groups and brings recommendations to the board for action. The Chancellor’s Office also administers dozens of CCC programs, carries out oversight required by statutes and regulations, and manages the day-to-day operations of the system. In addition, the Chancellor’s Office provides technical assistance to districts and colleges and conducts regional and statewide professional development activities—a role that has expanded in recent years with state funding for the Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative. Altogether, the Chancellor’s Office has 172 authorized positions, of which 144 (83 percent) are filled.

Chancellor’s Office Involved in Implementing Several New Initiatives. In 2017, the state adopted several community college initiatives that require administrative support from the Chancellor’s Office. The 2017-18 budget plan included $150 million one-time Proposition 98 for colleges to adopt guided pathways, an initiative that provides a comprehensive framework for improving student outcomes. The Chancellor’s Office assists colleges in implementing the initiative by running workshops and reviewing college plans, among other activities. (Though implementing guided pathways is optional, all colleges have chosen to participate.) The state also enacted Chapter 745 of 2017 (AB 705, Irwin), which prohibits a college from placing students into remedial coursework unless placement research indicates they otherwise would be unlikely to succeed in college-level coursework. The Chancellor’s Office is currently developing guidance to clarify how colleges can comply with the new law. In addition, the state adopted Chapter 735 of 2017 (AB 19, Santiago), which expanded the fee waiver program to all resident first-time, full-time students during their first year of college, regardless of financial need. To receive funding for these “AB 19 fee waivers,” colleges must meet certain requirements, including participation in the federal loan program and guided pathways. The Chancellor’s Office is currently working with colleges to ensure they meet AB 19 requirements.

2017-18 Budget Included Six New Positions for Chancellor’s Office. The 2017-18 budget included six new positions and $1.1 million in additional resources to help implement new initiatives and improve the Chancellor’s Office’s overall capacity to provide leadership and expertise to colleges. The augmentation was based on a comprehensive review of central operations conducted by staff from the Department of Finance and Chancellor’s Office over the course of spring 2017. Of the total augmentation, $618,000 was General Fund to support: two additional information technology specialists, a new administrator to oversee guided pathways implementation, and a second deputy chancellor (converting an existing vice chancellor position that had a lower salary range and had been vacant for some time). The remaining $454,000 was reimbursement authority for two research specialists and an attorney. Colleges and third parties (such as research organizations) will be able to use the services of these three staff positions on a fee-for-service basis.

Governor’s Proposal

Governor Proposes $2 Million Increase for 15 New Positions at Chancellor’s Office. As Figure 1 shows, the Governor’s budget includes $2 million to fund 15 new positions at the Chancellor’s Office. The funding for eight of the positions—those for a new online community college, a new community college apportionment funding formula, and a new K-12 career technical education (CTE) program embedded within the community colleges’ Strong Workforce Program—is tied to proposals included in the Governor’s 2018-19 budget. Funding for another five positions is tied to recently enacted initiatives (AB 19 fee waivers, guided pathways, and changes to remediation and placement). The remaining two positions are for accounting and human resources.

Figure 1

Governor Proposes 15 New Positions in Chancellor’s Office

(Dollars in Thousands)


Number of Positions


Type of Workload

Online community college



New proposal

AB 19 fee waivers



Recent initiative

Guided pathways



Recent initiative

Accounting and human resources




K-12 career technical education



New proposal

New funding formula



New proposal

Remediation and placement



Recent initiative




Assessment and Recommendations

Lack of Detail and Justification for Seven Requested Positions Tied to Existing Workload, Recommend Rejecting. Last year, the administration and Chancellor’s Office undertook a comprehensive review of the office and requested several new positions. The Legislature funded those positions. Neither the administration nor the Chancellor’s Office has explained clearly why new positions for existing workload are now needed. For example, neither the administration nor the Chancellor’s Office has explained why two additional positions are necessary for implementing the guided pathways initiative, especially given one position was added last year. If the administration continues to believe that even more positions are required than the ones the state authorized last year, then it could compile more detailed information showing those specific workload increases. If the administration were to submit a more robust proposal next year, the Legislature could reconsider any requested positions at that time.

Need for Two Positions Depends on Policies Adopted, Withhold Recommendation Pending Final Decisions. The need for positions associated with a new CCC funding formula and a new K-12 CTE program ultimately will depend upon whether these proposals are included in the final budget and how these proposals are structured. For example, if the Legislature were to enact a more complex CCC funding formula and require substantial ongoing monitoring and reporting, the Chancellor’s Office may need more than the one position included in the Governor’s proposal. On the other hand, if the Legislature were to streamline several categorical program requirements in tandem with adopting a relatively simple new funding formula, the Chancellor’s Office likely would see a reduction in overall administrative workload, thereby freeing up staff positions that could be used in new ways. As the details of these policy decisions could have substantial ramifications for associated administrative workload at the Chancellor’s Office, we recommend the Legislature hold off on approving positions related to the formula and CTE program until final policy decisions have been approved.

Need for Chancellor’s Office Positions for Online College Also Depends Upon Final Policies, Withhold Recommendation Pending Final Decisions. In our conversation with the administration, much of the workload described for the six new Chancellor’s Office online college positions would be more appropriately funded through the online college’s funding. (The Governor’s Budget includes $120 million Proposition 98 funding for the online college—$100 million one time over seven years and $20 million ongoing.) For example, program development, hiring, management of information technology, professional development, and accreditation efforts typically would be considered college responsibilities. To the extent the online college were to request assistance from the Chancellor’s Office in undertaking these types of administrative tasks, we believe this workload could be covered using the college’s $120 million appropriation. If the Chancellor’s Office were to incur other costs to oversee the college, the administration could better detail those costs and then the Legislature could consider increasing non-Proposition 98 General Fund accordingly at that time.