On November 8, 2018, in Governor Jerry Brown’s absence, Acting Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Butte, Los Angeles, and Ventura Counties due to the wildfires, and he also requested federal support. The White House has approved that request in order to help with crisis counseling, housing and unemployment assistance, and legal services for fire victims, along with assistance to local governments with emergency response, recovery, and repairs.
System Chancellor Eloy Oakley issued the following statement:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the fires burning in Northern and Southern California. We are grateful for all the first responders on the front lines battling the wildfires and working to protect lives. The state Chancellor’s Office will work with colleges forced to cancel classes to minimize any impacts on academic calendars. Community colleges are centers of hope and strength, and they will play a critical role in the response and recovery of these fires.”
The impacts of the wildfires can include declining student enrollment and attendance. Full-time equivalent student (FTES) counts are the primary generator of revenues, which means the loss of FTES can have a significant negative impact on the local community college district budget. However, there is a process available to recover apportionment funding for such situations.
Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations establishes criteria for FTES allowances or a waiver of the 175-day requirement due to emergency situations. Specifically, section 58146 of Title 5 addresses situations where a community college district is prevented from providing at least 175 days of instruction or experiences a material decrease in FTES due to fire, flood, epidemic, or other emergencies. The district can apply to the Chancellor’s Office, to receive apportionment funding as if the emergency had not occurred. The CCFS-313 form for this request can be found here.
—Debbie Fry and Sheila G. Vickers