Today, José M. Ortiz, Ed.D., Chancellor of the Peralta Community College District, had an editorial concerning Proposition 30 published in the Oakland Tribune.
You can read the Chancellor’s full editorial at http://www.insidebayarea.com/editorial/ci_21883963/jos-233-m-ortiz-passage-prop-30-would
José M. Ortiz: Passage of Prop. 30 would help buoy college districts
This November our nation will make important choices at the polls. In California, there is a very important measure on the ballot, Proposition 30, which will have a profound impact on how community colleges across the state, including the Peralta Colleges, are funded.
I urge you to vote this November, and while I cannot tell you how to vote, I can outline for you the facts and possible effects of Proposition 30 on the Peralta Community College District, our students, faculty, staff and the public.
The Peralta Colleges — Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, and Laney and Merritt Colleges in Oakland — serve more than 27,000 students each semester. We provide not only two-year degrees and academic transfer courses, but also important workforce development and career technical education to students from Albany, Alameda, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Piedmont.
The outcome of Proposition 30 will determine future funding for our college and, in fact, all institutions of higher education in California for years to come. California’s community colleges face midyear budget cuts of $338 million if Proposition 30 does not pass in November.
This has meant that Peralta has already prepared for a loss of $5.5 million that would otherwise have gone to serving students.
Overall, funding for California community colleges has been cut by $809 million, or 12 percent, since 2008-09, according to the state chancellor’s office. The Peralta Colleges have seen some $27 million in cuts to our budget, meaning we cannot educate nearly as many students as we once did.
Enrollment at the state’s 112 community colleges has declined by almost 500,000 students since 2008-09, and course offerings statewide have been cut by 25 percent.
At the Peralta Colleges, we have lost more than 4,000 students due to state funding cuts and have had to cut classes by nearly 25 percent.
If Proposition 30 passes, the state’s community colleges would receive $210 million in additional funds in 2012-13, or $4 million for the Peralta Colleges.
Passage of the measure would make room for an additional 20,000 students statewide, which could mean funding for up to 1,000 additional students at College of Alameda, Berkeley City College, Laney College and Merritt College.
Voting yes on Proposition 30 means that the personal income tax would go up for those earning more than $250,000 and a quarter-cent sales tax increase would go into effect. Schools and colleges, public safety and other State agencies would receive funding.
Voting no on Proposition 30 means that no new taxes will be introduced and schools and colleges would face billions in reduced funding.
Again, I cannot urge you to vote one way or another on Proposition 30, but I hope this information is useful to you in making up your mind when you go to the polls next week.
I urge each of you to become informed as to relevant facts and the various choices before us this Election Day, Nov. 6, and to go out and vote.
Jose M. Ortiz, Ed.D.