State cuts lead to layoffs at Cuesta College disabled programs

Steep cuts in state funding of more than 50 percent are expected for Cuesta College’s Disabled Student Programs and Services, and the Board of Trustees will Wednesday consider proposals to cut staff or staff hours.

The cuts will not affect full-time faculty in the program, but they are expected to lead to the layoffs of three staff members, while another 10 may see their hours reduced, according to Stephan Gunsaulus, Cuesta’s director of marketing and media.

Gunsaulus said the program receives special categorical funds for state-mandated programs, as do other programs like the Educational Opportunity Program.

But the ramifications of cuts in such categorical funds in the budget adopted by the Legislature and signed by the governor are just trickling down to the college, he said.

“We were anticipating a 32 percent funding cut, but this is shaping up to be closer to 55 percent,” he said.

Cuesta students have already had their per unit fees increased to $26 from $20 by the Legislature this fall, as did all community college students in the state.

The Board of Trustees in September laid off two employees and reduced the assignments of 37 others college-wide as part of an effort to close the school's $5 million budget gap.

Gunsaulus said more cuts are expected mid-year because the state is already reporting that it has a $10 billion deficit for this year.