CA: Prop 92 – Community Colleges. Funding.

The duplicity Proposition 91 represented is one of the reasons why it is hard for the general public to generate interest in voting. Fortunately, Proposition 92 is much more interesting and relevant to where I am currently in life.

Proposition 92: Community College Governance, Funding Stabilization, and Student Fee Reduction Act

  • Establishes in state constitution a system of independent public community college districts and Board of Governors.
  • Generally, requires minimum levels of state funding for school districts and community college districts to be calculated separately, using different criteria and separately appropriated.
  • Allocates 10.46 percent of current Proposition 98 school funding maintenance factor to community colleges.
  • Sets community college fees at $15/unit per semester; limits future fee increases.
  • Provides formula for allocation by Legislature to community college districts that would not otherwise receive general fund revenues through community college apportionment.

- Voter Information Guide

The two main points coming from this proposition is to set the community college fees at $15/unit per semester while at the same time making it almost impossible to raise the fee and to create a Board of Governers picked by the Governer to oversee the distribution of the funds to the community colleges.

For some reason, I feel the $15/unit per semester part of the deal seems to have been thrown in just to get the public to vote for the proposition. The real meat of the proposition is to create a Board of Governers who are hand-picked by the Governer to have full authority in determining how the funds provided by the state are used.

The board would consist of 19 members:

  • 12 public members – chosen by the Governer from a list created by the Senate
  • 2 student members – chosen by the Governer
  • 3 faculty members – chosen by the Governer
  • 3 community college employee members – chosen by the Governer from a classified list

Why even have the student members? They’re pretty much just token members, can’t really sway the rest of the board and they have a high turnover due to graduation or dropping out. Unless they are college lifers similar to Van Wilder. So, for all we know, the board could be giving each other raises and no one will be the wiser.

Setting the fee to a flat $15 per unit is not a big help to the average community college student. Maybe they should actually do a survey asking for students gripes. A majority of them would talk about the cost of textbooks, which are usually written by their professors and cost $200 to $300 per. With four classes, that easily costs close to $1000. The cost of the actual classes are barely a quarter of the cost of books. We’re not talking about textbooks you would save for the future either. These suckers get released with minimal changes as new editions each successive year, so their value drops with each passing semester.

If they want to actually put any teeth into this proposition, they would have somehow set a cap on the cost of the books along with the fees. Unfortunately, they either don’t have the power or the inclination so this proposition gets a resounding NO from me.

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