California Colleges Await Tax Vote

A tax measure on California’s November ballot could provide an extra $213 million to community colleges, making it possible to restore course sections to meet rising demand. If the measure fails,  colleges will have to cut $338 million, a 7.5 percent budget reduction.  The decision is “fairly monumental,” says Jonathan Lightman, executive director of the Faculty Association of California’s Community Colleges, in a Hechinger Report interview.

. . . colleges would be serving fewer students would have fewer course sections and would pare down their staff accordingly.

That’s fairly monumental at a time when the pressure on the community colleges to retrain an unemployed workforce is very high and when students who in an earlier era if they were eligible would never have thought about not going to the University of California, but today there is the issue about affordability in those systems.

Also, we still have demography issue. We have a higher percentage of 18-24 year-olds in the state than in other periods of history. And, we have the other issue of the demobilization of our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan that have come home and are seeking higher education opportunities to transition into the civilian economy. So, it’s created the perfect storm for demand for community college seats,

The measure “faces an uphill slog,” predicts the San Jose Mercury News. A rival tax increase on the ballot may split pro-tax voters.

Via Joanne Jacobs, Community College Spotlight.

You might also be interested in this article from Education Week, “California Districts Wary in Advance of Tax Vote.”

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