Current Editorial: Proposition 30: why it will help community colleges across California

If community college students ever wanted to find a reason to vote, then Proposition 30 would be a good one, because the proposition’s success or failure affects them directly.

Proposition 30, the “Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012” would temporarily raise sales tax to 7.5 percent from what was 7.25 percent. It would also temporarily create four high-income tax brackets for taxpayers with taxable incomes exceeding $250,000, $300,000, $500,000 and $1,000,000. The tax increases would be deposited into the “Education Act Account” with 89 percent of the funding going to K-12 schools and 11 percent going to benefit community colleges. Proposition 30 is Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax plan and could define his career as California’s governor.

Passing Proposition 30 will affect community colleges for the better bringing in approximately $210 million in benefits and would bring $2,000,000 in growth and restoration for the Los Rios District. It will also allow Los Rios to service around 10,000 new students.

If the proposition does not pass it will have a significant negative impact on community colleges across California, with approximately $338.6 million in budget cuts including the $210 million we would have received from the proposition passing. The Los Rios District itself losing $16 million due to cuts, and California community colleges would have to turn away 180,000 students. Community colleges can’t face this kind of problem.

With all of these budget cuts in recent years due to California budget constraints, community college students need to take the best opportunity they can get to benefit themselves.

If not passed, it will also result in courses required for associates degrees and transfers to four-year universities being cut. Teachers will be laid off, and there will be drastic cuts in part-time staff, which affects students out of the classroom. Services like Disabled Student Programs and Services, financial aid and childcare will also see drastic cuts.

“You get classroom sizes increasing to compensate the budget cuts,” said Rich Copenhagen, President of the Student Center of Californian Community Colleges. “Which incoherently lowers the quality of your classes because case studies show the fewer students in a class the more time you get to engage them.”

Loaded classrooms are the last thing students who are trying to transfer need, especially with the highest graduating classes in California, laid-off workers coming to better their knowledge and veterans returning home from war. This is why you should vote yes on Proposition 30 in November.

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