The Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees has adopted a resolution in support of Proposition 30, the Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012, which will appear on the ballot in the upcoming general election, being held Tuesday, Nov. 6.
The action came during the board’s regularly scheduled business meeting on October 10 at the college’s Canyon Country campus. The motion was passed by a margin of 4-1, with board member Scott Wilk voting against the resolution.
Placed on the ballot by the Legislature as part of its 2012-13 state budget plan, if passed, Proposition 30 is expected to generate approximately $6 billion in annual revenue from 2012-13 through 2016-17.
These funds would be directed to a number of state budget items, including K-12 education, community colleges and the realignment of public safety services from state to local governments.
If voters approve Prop. 30, under these provisions California’s community colleges would be in line to receive approximately $210 million in additional funding in 2012-13.
“As publically elected trustees to this college board, we have a responsibility as stewards of this institution in particular, but also community colleges in general, to try and protect it,” Board of Trustees member Michele Jenkins said. “We need the California Community College System to be able to continue on, and flourish.”
“Community colleges are seeing growing demand from more and more students for access to higher education,” Board of Trustees President Michael Berger said. “Whether they are veterans returning from overseas, or the unemployed looking to launch a new career, or those turned away from UC and CSU campuses, they are looking to us for the classes and support services needed to achieve their goals. But because of state budget cuts handed down over the last few years, we’ve had to turn many of them away.”
If local voters do not approve Prop 30, the state is expected to enact immediate “trigger cuts” outlined in the 2012-13 budget. Among those would be a roughly $338 million budget cut to the state’s community college system in the middle of the academic year.
For COC, those cuts would equate to another $4.6 million budget cut in the 2012-13 academic year.
In enacted, these new funding cuts would come on the heels of several years worth of reductions handed down by the state. In fact, since 2008-09 state funding for College of the Canyons to serve students has been reduced by $16.4 million, from $80.4 million to $64 million.
As a result, the number of full-time equivalent students the college is able to serve has dropped 20 percent, from 16,603 to 12,970, over that same time period.
In addition, the college has reduced the amount of student services and class sections available each semester as a result of the cuts.
College officials also recently announced that COC will not be offering a 2013 winter session to students.
In preparation for possible statewide “trigger cuts” the Board of Trustees approved a 2012-13 budget for College of the Canyons that accounts for the potential $4.6 million mid-year funding reduction.