Proposition 92 Divides Teaching Community and Sets Stage for Bloody Battle in February

A measure that would cut fees for Community College students and guarantee funding levels for community colleges would seem to be an issue everyone in the teaching community could get behind.

The cost of Community Colleges has risen sharply in recent decades and Proposition 92 would lower the fees from the current $20 per unit to $15 per unit. It would also set aside a percentage of the state’s budget for community colleges.

However, the measure has divided the state’s two largest teachers’ unions. The California Federation of Teachers is the biggest financial backer of Proposition 92. Meanwhile, the largest teachers’ association in the state, CTA, is a strong opponent.

Why? Because the measure would tinker with the basic funding formula for Proposition 98. Proposition 98 was passed by the voters in 1988 to lock in K-12 money at 40 percent of the states general fund. The CTA and other opponents fear that by locking in money for community college funding, money would be taken away from the K-12 schools. The CTA claims to support more money for community colleges, however they oppose the manner in which Proposition 92 would accomplish this.

Scott Lay, a Davis resident and president of the Community College League of California is a strong backer of the measure. In a November interview with the Sacramento Bee he said:

“Everybody loves community colleges right now. I’ve never heard so many people say community colleges need more money. We’ve tried for 20 years to play the game in Sacramento, and what it has meant is fewer Californians being able to go to college.”

“There’s a sincere debate about the future of higher education. We are trying to have a system that will be accessible and affordable and the other universities have a different agenda, talking about their fee increases and executive pay this week. … We believe we are going the direction the people want.”

Meanwhile the ruling bodies of California’s two-tiered four year college system have also opposed the measure–the CSU Board of Trustee and the University of California Regents.

Each of them apparent are fearful that more money for community colleges translates into less money for them.

Spokesman Paul Browning from CSU told the Sacramento Bee:

“The CSU is worried that the passage of the proposition could mean leaner times by shrinking the pool of discretionary money available for higher education from Sacramento, which of course would impact CSU.”

The sad part of this fight is that there seems a real need for more consistent and reliable support for community colleges. Community Colleges represent a crucial avenue by which students are prepared for four-year colleges in addition to provisions of workplace skills and other key skills that can be applied directly to vocations.

On the Yes on Proposition 92 website, they quote Marco Realmonte, President of the Cabrillo Student Senate:

“Lowering the fees will allow thousands of California students who have a difficult time paying for college in the face of unpredictable fee increases and high housing costs. In 2003, more than 300,000 students were forced to drop out when fees increased to $26. This initiative means stability for students like me. It’s important for every student to have the ability to go to college.”

Unfortunately, the budget realities in this state are such that anytime you feed Peter, you do so at the expense of Paul.

The reality though is that education is a necessity not a luxury.

Matt Mahood, President & CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber is quoted saying:

“In order to keep California’s competitive edge over the next 20 years, almost 40 percent of the workforce will need to be college educated. Unfortunately, today we are well below that percentage. Our community college system is this region’s lynchpin to ensuring we produce the highly skilled workers required to meet the demands of the next technological era. Passing the Community College Initiative will offer more affordable and accessible academic and vocational education for both recent high school graduates and those returning to school. And the initiative does this without raising taxes.”

It is of course that last sentence that sparks the controversy here because in order to provide money to Community Colleges without raising taxes, it has to take money from somewhere else.

What would be nice is if the educational community could come together and figure out some sort of solution here. As it stands, we are looking at a bloody battle that no one will really win as it pits one part of our educational system against another.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

Author

  • David Greenwald

    Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Categories:

Elections

108 comments

  1. The last thing this state needs is another spending formula approved through the initiative process. Prop. 98 ties up an enormous amount of resources, and yet California schools still perform poorly. $26 per course is a bargain. And, higher education is not a necessity – liberals have to face the reality that college is not for everyone.

    The LAO predicts the state will have a $10 billion deficit this year. Can the State really afford this measure?

  2. The last thing this state needs is another spending formula approved through the initiative process. Prop. 98 ties up an enormous amount of resources, and yet California schools still perform poorly. $26 per course is a bargain. And, higher education is not a necessity – liberals have to face the reality that college is not for everyone.

    The LAO predicts the state will have a $10 billion deficit this year. Can the State really afford this measure?

  3. The last thing this state needs is another spending formula approved through the initiative process. Prop. 98 ties up an enormous amount of resources, and yet California schools still perform poorly. $26 per course is a bargain. And, higher education is not a necessity – liberals have to face the reality that college is not for everyone.

    The LAO predicts the state will have a $10 billion deficit this year. Can the State really afford this measure?

  4. The last thing this state needs is another spending formula approved through the initiative process. Prop. 98 ties up an enormous amount of resources, and yet California schools still perform poorly. $26 per course is a bargain. And, higher education is not a necessity – liberals have to face the reality that college is not for everyone.

    The LAO predicts the state will have a $10 billion deficit this year. Can the State really afford this measure?

  5. Matt Mahood, President & CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber is quoted saying:

    “In order to keep California’s competitive edge over the next 20 years, almost 40 percent of the workforce will need to be college educated.

    SOLUTION: Some corporate CEOs are already involved in voluntary NGO programs to support higher education training for their future workers. Government regulation to block outsourcing and incentives for corporate moves out of the USA would “nudge” the rest of the business special interests to accept taxation directed to educate their future workers here in the USA.

  6. Matt Mahood, President & CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber is quoted saying:

    “In order to keep California’s competitive edge over the next 20 years, almost 40 percent of the workforce will need to be college educated.

    SOLUTION: Some corporate CEOs are already involved in voluntary NGO programs to support higher education training for their future workers. Government regulation to block outsourcing and incentives for corporate moves out of the USA would “nudge” the rest of the business special interests to accept taxation directed to educate their future workers here in the USA.

  7. Matt Mahood, President & CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber is quoted saying:

    “In order to keep California’s competitive edge over the next 20 years, almost 40 percent of the workforce will need to be college educated.

    SOLUTION: Some corporate CEOs are already involved in voluntary NGO programs to support higher education training for their future workers. Government regulation to block outsourcing and incentives for corporate moves out of the USA would “nudge” the rest of the business special interests to accept taxation directed to educate their future workers here in the USA.

  8. Matt Mahood, President & CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber is quoted saying:

    “In order to keep California’s competitive edge over the next 20 years, almost 40 percent of the workforce will need to be college educated.

    SOLUTION: Some corporate CEOs are already involved in voluntary NGO programs to support higher education training for their future workers. Government regulation to block outsourcing and incentives for corporate moves out of the USA would “nudge” the rest of the business special interests to accept taxation directed to educate their future workers here in the USA.

  9. I am a Davis Democrat and yes, we do support education and training.

    Community colleges provide a wealth of training and education for those who can either not afford a four-year college, or for those who want to pay less for their first two years of college. Many also attend junior college to get training needed to advance in their career. I plan on supporting this important Proposition.

    YES on prop 92!

  10. I am a Davis Democrat and yes, we do support education and training.

    Community colleges provide a wealth of training and education for those who can either not afford a four-year college, or for those who want to pay less for their first two years of college. Many also attend junior college to get training needed to advance in their career. I plan on supporting this important Proposition.

    YES on prop 92!

  11. I am a Davis Democrat and yes, we do support education and training.

    Community colleges provide a wealth of training and education for those who can either not afford a four-year college, or for those who want to pay less for their first two years of college. Many also attend junior college to get training needed to advance in their career. I plan on supporting this important Proposition.

    YES on prop 92!

  12. I am a Davis Democrat and yes, we do support education and training.

    Community colleges provide a wealth of training and education for those who can either not afford a four-year college, or for those who want to pay less for their first two years of college. Many also attend junior college to get training needed to advance in their career. I plan on supporting this important Proposition.

    YES on prop 92!

  13. I don’t understand the comment about 300,000 dropping out when the fees went to $26. According to Rand the trend in enrollment in CA community colleges was:

    2000: 1.52 million
    2001: 1.69 million
    2002: 1.75 million
    2003: 1.89 million
    2004: 1.72 million
    2005: 1.59 million

    The number appears to have been fluctuating and was lower in 2001 than in 2004, so it doesn’t seem clear that the fee increase of $6 made such a difference.

    You can run your own data queries on enrollment at:
    http://www.ca.rand.org/
    stats/education/ccenroll.html

  14. I don’t understand the comment about 300,000 dropping out when the fees went to $26. According to Rand the trend in enrollment in CA community colleges was:

    2000: 1.52 million
    2001: 1.69 million
    2002: 1.75 million
    2003: 1.89 million
    2004: 1.72 million
    2005: 1.59 million

    The number appears to have been fluctuating and was lower in 2001 than in 2004, so it doesn’t seem clear that the fee increase of $6 made such a difference.

    You can run your own data queries on enrollment at:
    http://www.ca.rand.org/
    stats/education/ccenroll.html

  15. I don’t understand the comment about 300,000 dropping out when the fees went to $26. According to Rand the trend in enrollment in CA community colleges was:

    2000: 1.52 million
    2001: 1.69 million
    2002: 1.75 million
    2003: 1.89 million
    2004: 1.72 million
    2005: 1.59 million

    The number appears to have been fluctuating and was lower in 2001 than in 2004, so it doesn’t seem clear that the fee increase of $6 made such a difference.

    You can run your own data queries on enrollment at:
    http://www.ca.rand.org/
    stats/education/ccenroll.html

  16. I don’t understand the comment about 300,000 dropping out when the fees went to $26. According to Rand the trend in enrollment in CA community colleges was:

    2000: 1.52 million
    2001: 1.69 million
    2002: 1.75 million
    2003: 1.89 million
    2004: 1.72 million
    2005: 1.59 million

    The number appears to have been fluctuating and was lower in 2001 than in 2004, so it doesn’t seem clear that the fee increase of $6 made such a difference.

    You can run your own data queries on enrollment at:
    http://www.ca.rand.org/
    stats/education/ccenroll.html

  17. Community colleges are a threat to the traditional form of education provided by 4 year undergraduate programs like the UC and CSU systems. Like it or not, technological and social changes are rendering the need for a 4 year undergraduate degree unnecessary in a lot of contexts, and community colleges, if adequately funded, are well situated to educate these people, while the UC and CSU systems are too inflexible to do so.

    –Richard Estes

  18. Community colleges are a threat to the traditional form of education provided by 4 year undergraduate programs like the UC and CSU systems. Like it or not, technological and social changes are rendering the need for a 4 year undergraduate degree unnecessary in a lot of contexts, and community colleges, if adequately funded, are well situated to educate these people, while the UC and CSU systems are too inflexible to do so.

    –Richard Estes

  19. Community colleges are a threat to the traditional form of education provided by 4 year undergraduate programs like the UC and CSU systems. Like it or not, technological and social changes are rendering the need for a 4 year undergraduate degree unnecessary in a lot of contexts, and community colleges, if adequately funded, are well situated to educate these people, while the UC and CSU systems are too inflexible to do so.

    –Richard Estes

  20. Community colleges are a threat to the traditional form of education provided by 4 year undergraduate programs like the UC and CSU systems. Like it or not, technological and social changes are rendering the need for a 4 year undergraduate degree unnecessary in a lot of contexts, and community colleges, if adequately funded, are well situated to educate these people, while the UC and CSU systems are too inflexible to do so.

    –Richard Estes

  21. “And, higher education is not a necessity – liberals have to face the reality that college is not for everyone.”

    While I completely agree that a bachelor’s degree is not for everyone, this misses the point of what many JC students are looking for. Junior colleges offer a large number of practical, two-year diplomas, for people who study subjects ranging from cooking, to graphic arts, to automotive repair, to computer repair, to cosmetology, to photography, and so on. Community colleges play a vital role in training a large percentage of our workforce which goes into all of these trades.

    For those who will transfer into a four-year university, JC’s are a practical way for people who cannot afford the higher costs of higher education. A lot of these 19 and 20 year olds live with their parents and hold down a full-time job in order to survive. I think we, as a society, would be wise to keep public JC’s affordable to this segment of our population. With their higher earnings down the road, they will repay the costs.

  22. “And, higher education is not a necessity – liberals have to face the reality that college is not for everyone.”

    While I completely agree that a bachelor’s degree is not for everyone, this misses the point of what many JC students are looking for. Junior colleges offer a large number of practical, two-year diplomas, for people who study subjects ranging from cooking, to graphic arts, to automotive repair, to computer repair, to cosmetology, to photography, and so on. Community colleges play a vital role in training a large percentage of our workforce which goes into all of these trades.

    For those who will transfer into a four-year university, JC’s are a practical way for people who cannot afford the higher costs of higher education. A lot of these 19 and 20 year olds live with their parents and hold down a full-time job in order to survive. I think we, as a society, would be wise to keep public JC’s affordable to this segment of our population. With their higher earnings down the road, they will repay the costs.

  23. “And, higher education is not a necessity – liberals have to face the reality that college is not for everyone.”

    While I completely agree that a bachelor’s degree is not for everyone, this misses the point of what many JC students are looking for. Junior colleges offer a large number of practical, two-year diplomas, for people who study subjects ranging from cooking, to graphic arts, to automotive repair, to computer repair, to cosmetology, to photography, and so on. Community colleges play a vital role in training a large percentage of our workforce which goes into all of these trades.

    For those who will transfer into a four-year university, JC’s are a practical way for people who cannot afford the higher costs of higher education. A lot of these 19 and 20 year olds live with their parents and hold down a full-time job in order to survive. I think we, as a society, would be wise to keep public JC’s affordable to this segment of our population. With their higher earnings down the road, they will repay the costs.

  24. “And, higher education is not a necessity – liberals have to face the reality that college is not for everyone.”

    While I completely agree that a bachelor’s degree is not for everyone, this misses the point of what many JC students are looking for. Junior colleges offer a large number of practical, two-year diplomas, for people who study subjects ranging from cooking, to graphic arts, to automotive repair, to computer repair, to cosmetology, to photography, and so on. Community colleges play a vital role in training a large percentage of our workforce which goes into all of these trades.

    For those who will transfer into a four-year university, JC’s are a practical way for people who cannot afford the higher costs of higher education. A lot of these 19 and 20 year olds live with their parents and hold down a full-time job in order to survive. I think we, as a society, would be wise to keep public JC’s affordable to this segment of our population. With their higher earnings down the road, they will repay the costs.