The MiraCosta College Board of Trustees voted on September 11 to endorse Proposition 30, also known as “Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding,” which is on the November 2012 ballot.
The board voted 7-0 in favor of the endorsement, and joins every other community college board in San Diego and Imperial counties in endorsing Proposition 30.
Without the “Temporary Taxes to Fund Education” Initiative, community colleges and other segments of education in California are likely to have funding curtailed indefinitely. California community colleges, the nation’s largest system of higher education, faces mid-year budget cuts of $338 million if Proposition 30 does not pass in November. Since 2008-09, funding for California Community Colleges has already been cut by $809 million.
As a result of funding cuts, enrollment at the state’s 112 community colleges has declined by nearly 500,000 students since 2008-09, and course offerings have been cut nearly 25 percent. At the same time, demand has soared as high schools produce more graduates and as unemployed workers seek retraining and returning veterans seek a college education.
“California community colleges are essential for providing higher education opportunities for over two millionstudents annually, and are essential for providing them with the skills to be economically successful in our state,” says MiraCosta College Board of Trustees President Gloria Carranza. “Cuts in recent years have led to slashing of community college course offerings at a time of high demand as students clamor to get training for jobs of the 21st century.”
Proposition 30 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would increase the California sales tax by one-quarter of one percent, as well as raise the income tax on those who make more than $250,000 a year. The sales tax increase would last four years and the income tax increase would last seven years. The funds that would be raised are estimated to be roughly $6 billion. Those that would be affected by Proposition 30 include the California school systems ranging from elementary through college-level.
If Proposition 30 passes, the community colleges would receive $210 million in additional funds in 2012-13. Most of that money would be used to make good on deferred funding commitments by the state to colleges, but passage of the measure would make room for an additional 20,000 students. If Proposition 30 fails, the $338 million cut in the middle of the academic year would mean 180,000 fewer students would be served.
The California community college system is the largest means of higher education in the nation. It is composed of 72 districts and 112 colleges serving 2.4 million students per year. Community colleges supply workforce training, basic skills courses in English and math, and prepare students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities.