While fallout from the recall election begins to settle, there are still many issues unsettled for California’s institutions of higher learning. How will they be affected by the decisions Californians made in the October 7, 2003 election. Although Governor-Elect Arnold Scwarzenegger made many campaign promises on the subject of education, he has said little on what his plans to help California’s Community Colleges are.
Currently, Governor Gray Davis has approved Senate Bill 15, a bill that allows California’s Government to allocate money for the modernization of school buildings every 25 years and portable classrooms every 20 years.
Also approved was Assembly Bill 1266. AB 1266 will change the way Board of Governors apply for the budget for all of California’s Community College. When made law, AB 1266 will revise the state minimum requirements for the community college budget. This will make the budget based “relative to decreases in noncredit Full Time Equivalent Students, in FTES for credit instruction and for instructional services and libraries, and decreases in headcount for student services.” This means that the bill will decide how much money community colleges are allocated by the number of full-time students that attend community colleges.
Assembly Bill 1313 was also approved by Davis. AB 1313 will make it easier for college law enforcement to release information on registered sex offenders attending their campus to the students and faculty of that campus. This bill also requires anyone requesting information on sex offenders attending their campus to sign “a specified statement before an agency would release offender information to him or her.” This statement would be kept by the agency releasing the information “in a file in the agency’s office for at least 5 years.”
Senate Bill 821, approved by Davis, is going to create a task force representing California State Universities and California Community Colleges. This task force will “develop a plan for integrating instruction in business ethics into their business and business administration programs.” The bill will also enact an award, the Golden State Business and Social Responsibility award, that will “honor students who complete graduate business programs at California’s public and private institutions of higher education, and who show a commitment to socially responsible leadership.” The award will be given to students who complete two business ethics courses, and show a commitment to their community by performing 50 hours of community service. The bill doesn’t specify what type of award recipients will receive.
Another bill approved by Davis is Senate Bill 507. SB 507 will modify an existing law that gives low-income students the opportunity to take Advanced Placement exams by giving them a state grant to cover the examination fees. SB 507 will extend the date of the end of this funding from January 1, 2005 to January 1, 2008. The termination date of the law can be extended at a later date by state legislation.
Whether or not this legislation will improve the condition of community colleges and other educational institutions in California remains to be seen, but Davis has taken a step in helping California make education a priority in his final days as Governor.