PASADENA (CBS) — The prolonged budget crisis in Sacramento has severely strained the finances for state community colleges, which are entering their third-straight month without funding and are owed up to $840 million, according to reports.

The Pasadena Star says the state’s inability to approve a new 2010-11 budget has put community colleges has forced them to “survive by borrowing, freezing purchasing, delaying vendor payments and other drastic steps,” California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott told the newspaper.

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“This is a ticking time bomb for California’s future economy,” Scott said.

In the San Gabriel Valley and Whittier areas, however, local community college officials say they have enough in reserves to pay their bills for at least a few more months, the newspaper reported.

But the budget deadlock – already the longest in state history at 92 days – is a great concern, said Juan Gutierrez, public relations director at 29,000-student Pasadena City College.

“We’re doing well, but we can’t keep going on like this, with deferrals and no budget,” Gutierrez said. “We’ve been fortunate in that we’re still able to offer access to students without getting any increases in our revenue – and without a state budget, for that matter.”

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“But that’s because we’ve been fiscally prudent,” he told the newspaper.”

Without an approved state budget, funds have been halted for not only public schools like community colleges, but to child care providers, charter school operators and after-school programs.

It’s resulted in cuts to early education and child care services for more than 28,000 children and their families, the reduction of hours or layoff of 1,141 child care workers, and the closure or reduction in services at 234 preschool centers or sites, according to the California Department of Education.

For community colleges, the state missed a $116 million payment in July, $277 million in August and $450 million in September. The September payment was due Wednesday, officials told the newspaper.

Mt. San Antonio College spokeswoman Jill Dolan said in general, the 60,000-student campus “is in good financial shape. But we have had to make adjustments.”

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