General Info > News Releases > Archived Releases 2007-08 > 2007-11-30: Proposed Proposition 92 would impact Mendocino

News Release - November 29, 2007

Mendocino College, 1000 Hensley Creek Road, Ukiah, CA 95482

Contact: Ross Beck, Director of Public Information & Marketing
T: 707-468-3012, F: 707-468-3008, E-mail: rbeck@mendocino.edu

File: NR-Proposition 92

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Proposed Proposition 92 would impact Mendocino College


UKIAH.... The Mendocino College Board of Trustees adopted a resolution supporting Proposition 92 at their November meeting. Proposition 92 is the Community College Initiative, which will be on the February 5 ballot.

If approved, the measure would:
* Lower student fees 25% from $20 to $15 per unit
* Align future fee increases to the cost of living
* Provide stable funding for community colleges to offer more classes and services
* Guarantee community colleges a fixed portion of the state budget separate from K-12
* Not decrease K-12 funding
* Not raise taxes
* Recognize the community colleges in the State constitution as a system of higher education
*Affect over nearly 2 million students who attend community colleges statewide.

"Proposition 92 will provide stable funding for Mendocino and other community colleges," states Mendocino-Lake Community College district trustee Wade Koeninger. “Helping students succeed includes increasing access with lower fees that are predictable and reasonable.”

Currently, community college funding relies solely on enrollment in public K-12 education, not on how many students are enrolled in community colleges. Prop. 92 would separate community college funding from K-12 and set it as its own category. K-12 enrollment is predicted to drop during the coming years while community college enrollment is expected to rise. Community college students are the lowest funded group in the public education system. Funding per student for each system is $19,000 for University of California; $12,000 for California State University; $8,000 for Kindergarten through high school; and $5,000 per student for California community colleges.

According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the California community college system ranked 45th in support per full-time student revenue out of the 49 states surveyed in 1999-2000 (PPIC 2004).

In recent years, funding for community colleges has shifted up and down as the state faced budget challenges. Each year for almost two decades, the Legislature has suspended a requirement of Proposition 98 that allocates a set percentage of K-14 funding to community colleges.

“Because the requirements of Proposition 98 have been suspended for many years, our funding is unpredictable and can change mid year,” explains Mendocino College Superintendent/President Kathy Lehner. “Proposition 92 will ensure that community colleges receive a share of State funding based on a formula, not on politics."

Mendocino College can expect to receive an additional $1.4 million annually in their budget, beginning in 2009-10, if Proposition 92 passes.

If approved, reducing fees to $450 per year from $600 would expand access to higher education for a full-time community college student. In 2004 when fees were raised to $26 per unit, 305,000 fewer students than expected enrolled statewide.

Fees are very important to Mendocino College student Tanya Simpson, who is graduating this fall with an AA in Foreign Language and transferring to Sonoma State. She also has a job as the interim administrative assistance in the Disability Resource Center at Mendocino College.

“I support Proposition 92 because I feel everyone should have the chance to be educated and to get a better paying job,” exclaims Simpson. “The cost of living is increasing and books are very expensive so my money is tight. Lower fees help open doors to more students, which helps them gain an education, confidence, and opportunities to accomplish their goals.”

Community colleges provide an education to more than 2 million students per year – compared to 180,000 students at UC and 380,000 students at CSU. Two-thirds of all CSU graduates and one-third of all UC graduates begin their education at community colleges.

"In order to continue to improve student success rates we need stable and predictable funding," says Lehner. "We prepare students for four-year college, provide workplace skills and life-long learning skills, increase community economic development and provide instruction in basic skills for those who lack them. We do all these things with minimal funding."

Authors of Proposition 92 said they want to ensure that student fees increase at predictable rates that provide fair notice to students.

"We just want to get more students into the community college system, so they can go onto higher education and get trained in the workforce," said Andrew Acosta, spokesman for Californians for Improving Community Colleges, which is sponsoring the initiative. "In California, for too many years, the community college system has not received the funding it deserves and has been promised."

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Created: November 30, 2007 @ 09:14 AM
Last Modified: November 30, 2007 @ 09:14 AM

 





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