Everyone has been feeling the hurt from tumultuous tuition hikes, less classes being offered, and the scant number of sections from those classes remaining. Semester after semester this prolonged and continuous student body, faculty, and local community, has seemed to have a general sentiment about how the administration is handling things. However, at this point, even after Harrington was replaced and communication between the student body and the administration improved, some of the same issues remain. Funding has been cut by 23% over the last 5 years, but only 21% less sections were offered to students, which according to our new Interim Vice Chancellor, Dr. Carabajal, “Demonstrates that we take students’ needs as priority.” However, it’s come to the point when in order for California’s Community College system to not take a huge hit, some voting is going to be required. Name Proposition 30.
Even with the administration doing what they can, we’re at the point when, in November, things can go a few different ways. Listening to student needs, be it during a counseling appointment, registration, or simply by keeping an eye on which classes fill quickest, is better than nothing but we’re at the point where California citizens are going to have vote in order to get community colleges the dire funding they need.
According to the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, “From 2008-09 to 2011-12 the community college system reduced summer and winter sections by nearly 50 percent due to reduced funding and mid-year trigger cuts that made it difficult for colleges to plan. The California Community Colleges survey shows that 82 percent of responding colleges will not offer winter classes for 2012-13.” Community Colleges have also been forced to borrow money to manage cash flow, resulting in uncertainty around the state.
“In any event, last month, Governor Brown released his May Revision Budget, which is the second major step in California’s budget development process. As he has previously proposed, the Governor is calling for a budget plan that mixes new revenue (in the form of a tax ballot initiative) with additional cuts to achieve a balanced budget. This initiative proposes temporary tax measures. An increase of 0.25% in sales taxes over a four-year period and a personal income tax increase for individuals earning over $250,000 for a seven-year duration.”
I sincerely hope by writing this article to get those of us unsure of what truly is at stake, to take up arms, erm pens, and VOTE! Even if you don’t have an opinion on anything else that’s on the ballot, here is something to consider: The budget propositions need careful paying attention to. Another proposed budget that will appear on the ballot, below Proposition 30, is proposition 38. Technically these are both able to be voted for, but in reality have enormous differences. Namely 38 would give zero, that’s ZERO as in ZERO, money to community colleges in the 2012 budget.
Whether it’s skyrocketing tuition costs, class offerings being slashed, or even book costs, “Were getting screwed,” has been a common feeling amongst most people I’ve run into. Hands down, this has gotten to the point of extreme frustration at all levels of the school. From students to the Chancellor, the wallet pinching and backlash from the state’s decisions up until this tipping point, has us all frustrated. The feeling of having no control and not knowing what the future holds has taken a toll on everyone, students especially. Not that the administration hasn’t tried to put the needs of students’ first and foremost, but the nature of how students get information or, easily accessible information, particularly regarding the monetary numbers expenditures, is ridiculous. I was happily surprised to find out that throughout this difficult trend, over at least the last decade, the administration of Yuba College truly has put the students first. Whenever possible, the students have been the last to be negatively affected during every fiscal crisis.
Things such as the headlines reading “Harrington Banks $XXX,000.00” do no help in improving the relationship and communication between the student body and the administrators. I can tell you, gladly, that the crisis we’re currently in and about to find out the result of, come November, will just the same be met with the students well-being at the forefront. In the literal plannings for potential outcomes to the voting on the Propositions, the first cuts are consolidating staff wise and combining / eliminating certain positions, and the like. Only after all other possible means of avoiding a nosedive, will students see some tangible negative effects. First and foremost – this is not to be a memo reporting the possible outcomes of our dire situation .
Generally when it comes to political or administrative issues I feel I have no control over, I try to ignore. Then, after really thinking upon it, I realize these are people we’re talking about here. People who have to support families while going to school. People who have no prior education or who never finished middle school and are hoping to push themselves through higher education learning the tools they need along the way. Services for the most at risk students are critical components to the proposition failing and our budget dwindling.
Tuition hikes thrust on people who are already barely scraping by is sad and difficult enough, but now these same people, whom are more likely to have only specific times available for school because of work or family, are even less likely to find a schedule that works for them. When stepping you almost want to ask why, why not just cut other “things” or drop some unneeded programs, or retire them alternately, or something. But the situation we’re at now, with the looming November vote on the ballot, can spell disaster in the future for California Community Colleges in general. The cuts that will be triggered if the bill fails will immediately change Yuba College for the worse.
Myself, I’m more of a libertarian minded guy, a “leave me alone and I won’t bother you,” type. And here I’m hoping to at least raise some awareness of the importance of actually voting, and for something I consider the lesser of two evils but a 100% necessary one. How exactly did we get here from just a few semesters ago, when a credit was $14 as recently as 2004. Currently that same simple credit will cost you (or in some situations, the taxpayer) $46. The cost of attending what is supposedly an affordable upper education for communities like ours, has been increasing by insane margins. Come January, when the November general election results take effect, I know what I’d prefer. Remember, Prop. 30 is for our Community Colleges!