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1859 - Outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez escapes from prison while serving sentence for grand larceny in SCV area; recaptured in August and sent to San Quentin [story]
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Commentary by Bruce Fortine & Steve Zimmer
| Sunday, Jun 5, 2016

brucefortine_stevezimmerNearly 50 years ago, residents of the Santa Clarita Valley voted to establish a community college.

The benefits of having local access to higher education were clear: giving students an affordable option to complete the first two years of college before transferring to a university and earning a bachelor’s degree, along with providing access to a range of career training opportunities.

Soon after opening in modular facilities, the college delivered on both counts, successfully meeting the community’s needs and fulfilling its expectations. Voters showed their appreciation by approving bond measures to fund the construction of permanent classrooms and labs, and the college and community laid a foundation of partnership that thrives today.

As College of the Canyons and the Santa Clarita Valley have evolved over the years, the mutual commitment and support has grown even stronger. The community counts on COC to create opportunities, and COC delivers.

 

Delivering Academic Excellence

About 275,000 students have attended College of the Canyons since it opened in 1969 with classes held in the afternoons at Hart High School. Local residents count on COC to open the doors to the most sought-after four-year universities, and the college delivers, with students transferring to U.C. Berkeley, USC, UCLA, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, U.C. Irvine and more.

In fact, College of the Canyons ranks second out of 113 community colleges in California for class completion among college-ready students. And it is the top-ranked community college in Los Angeles County for the rate at which students transfer to four-year campuses.

 

Delivering Cutting-Edge Training

At the same time, the community expects COC to deliver cutting-edge training. And we deliver. COC has trained thousands of nurses, law enforcement officers, firefighters, welders and other skilled professionals over the years.

Local businesses count on College of the Canyons to deliver the cutting-edge training they need to stay competitive in their changing industries. Again, we deliver. In just the last five years, COC has generated $13.2 million in grants and revenue that was used to deliver training to nearly 19,000 employees at more than 4,500 companies.

 

Developing Community Partnerships

In addition to outstanding academics and playing a key role in enhancing and developing the local economy, College of the Canyons touches the community in many other ways. The Performing Arts Center serves as an artistic and cultural hub for the Santa Clarita Valley. Top-notch entertainers perform for local audiences, and the K-12 Arts Partnership gives local children the opportunity to experience the arts through special performances in local schools, and in the PAC itself.

 

Looking Ahead

While the college enjoys an outstanding reputation for serving the community, the Board of Trustees is always looking ahead to ensure COC is prepared to meet the Santa Clarita Valley’s emerging and future needs.

Access to higher education remains a top priority for local residents, just as it was in those early years when the college was founded. With enrollment continuing to grow, our facilities need to grow to keep pace with student need and community expectations. Today, we serve about 20,000 students per semester. A steady increase in new students over the next decade will push enrollment to 30,000 students. Already, we have about 4,000 students on waitlists each semester.

To ensure the college has the resources needed to meet the expectations of our community, the Board of Trustees placed Measure E on Tuesday’s ballot. It will provide $230 million of funding that will update nearly half of the existing facilities on the Valencia campus and provide 1,000 badly needed parking spaces. It will also dramatically expand the Canyon Country Campus to accommodate the college’s growing enrollment. Four buildings totaling 172,000 square feet of space will be built, tripling the amount of available facilities at that campus.

As local residents chose to invest in creating a college nearly 50 years ago, we are counting on Santa Clarita Valley voters to invest in their college today and vote “yes” on E. We are committed to meeting our community’s future needs, and Measure E will enable College of the Canyons to do so in the decades to come.

 

Bruce Fortine and Steve Zimmer serve as president and vice president, respectively, of the Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees, which oversees College of the Canyons.

Comment On This Story
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8 Comments

  1. Abigail says:

    This community has been paying for 50 years? And they are not done yet with old measures/bonds for COC. We need to stop mortgaging our future. Read your tax bill and find out how much they are still taking. Here is a fun fact, a very large majority of the students at COC are NOT from the greater SCV area but we are paying for them to use COC too. Like the person who wrote an article like this before you this weekend – if the average home in this area is $400K and you pay $15 per $100K that is $60 per year. Another words $1,800 per household for the 30 years. This is nuts!!!! NO on E ! ! ! ! ! Stop picking my pocket.

  2. Ann Hustis says:

    Give some of your money!!!

  3. Bruce Fortine presented a phony complaint to the local sheriff alleging that I was a threat to Chancellor Van Hook. He bore a false witness against my good name.

    Mr Zimmer was at an event at SCVi school where without any provocation Chancellor Van Hook accused me of “attacking ” her (With a pointed but not inappropriate question that Mr Zimmer read to her.

    Van Hook hears just a little truth and she feels harassed. When Van Hook hears the word No she feels bullied.

    What are we to do with a community college Chancellor that need to have a safe zone.

  4. NoCOCTax.com for the best information.
    Work hard to get friends to the poll,

  5. Jim Shorts says:

    Amen Abigail! We are continually forced to pay for these snot nosed kids who all go to school to be philosophers so they can graduate and then tell us how insensitive we are to the needs of men who want to dress like women and use the same bathrooms as our 12 year old daughters. It should be our choice if we want to finance these bastions of liberal incubation. Why don’t get the funding from the LGBT community? Why don’t the political groups that these liberal colleges think are so great provide the funding?

    • WM says:

      I’m sorry, but I feel like the last comment has more to do with Mr. Shorts’ personal politics and not the issue at hand. All the politicians, both liberal and conservative, have attended college or ‘bastions of liberal incubation’ as it is so eloquently put.

      People are not required to be liberal to attend COC, or any other institution of higher education. In fact, colleges and universities inspire students to think for themselves. It’s sad that this is how some people view higher education.

      COC does a lot of good for the Santa Clarita community. That is a fact. It helps local businesses, provides job training, job placement, helps our local economy and helps to attract new business to the area (employers typically enjoy having a local, educated applicant pool).

      People should definitely weigh the pros and cons of this issue, and make a decision for themselves. It impacts the local community and every person should decide what is important for them. That being said, I believe the value COC provides to the community is worth the tax. You may disagree and I respect that. I do not respect the way Me. Short tried to make his point, as these things have nothing to do with each other. All people are welcome in higher education. Liberal, conservative, gay, straight and people of all nationalities and walks of life.

  6. Scott says:

    Sorry WM, but do not care if you were offended. Mr. Shorts has every right to express himself on this issue, whether it offends you, or me, or anyone else. As foe Measure E, it is another money grab by COC and certain politicians that the people of SCV will be paying for for decades to come. But be assured, the requests for money will not stop at Measure E. Just as they didn’t stop with the previous two bonds which were passed. Anyone would be a fool to think that Measure E will be the last time SCV citizens are asked to cough up more dough, so that COC can enroll more students from outside the valley. Remember COC is a COMMUNITY COLLEGE, not a state university. Oh, and the $54 million of state matching funds, where do you think that money comes from? …more taxes as well. “NO” on E.

  7. WM says:

    I totally agree, and while Mr. Shorts’ viewpoint does not align with my own, he has every right to voice his feelings. That is a right we all have. I just wanted to add my viewpoint to what seemed to be an overly negative reaction, and explain why I feel the way I do. Thank you for reading my previous post and best of luck to all of you.

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