Proposition 92 Promises to Reduce Student Fees

Garineh Demirjian

A new proposition has made its way onto the Feb. 5 ballot promising to lower tuition costs for community college students. However, not everyone is in favor of the new proposition, for fear it will take away funding from other areas within higher education.

The measure, Proposition 92, also known as the “Community College Governance, Funding Stabilization, and Student Fee Reduction Act” promises to lower tuition costs to $15 a unit, limit future fee increases, and provide stable funding for community colleges to add more classes and services.

Gordon Alexandre, Glendale College Faculty Guild President, who is in support of the proposition said, “It is absolutely necessary that the voters pass Prop. 92 on Feb. 5, 2008. Its passage will ensure greater access to a higher education for hundreds of thousands of students by lowering tuition to $15 a unit, will stabilize funding for community colleges, and bring millions of additional dollars into the system.”

“Glendale College alone will receive approximately $6 million dollars over the next several years if Prop.92 passes,” Alexandre said.

Steven Ferguson, senator of campus relations for the GCC student body is also the representative of the Prop 92 committee.

“ASGCC has donated $5,000 in direct donations and $2,700 by sending campaign mailers,” said Ferguson.

According to the website, which is funded by the California Federation of Teachers Prop/Ballot Committee, Los Angeles College Faculty Guild and the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges, “more than 70 percent of students taking college classes in California are taking them at community college.”

The website also says that “In 2004, when fees were hiked, 305,000 fewer students in California enrolled. Now that fees are starting to stabilize, we are starting to see community college enrollment increase across the state. Recent projections from the California Postsecondary Education Commission suggest that by the year 2010, 500,000 to 700,000 additional applicants will be heading to higher education – [most] likely three-fourths of them to community colleges.”

On the other hand, not everyone agrees with Prop 92, including the University Of California Board Of Regents. On Nov. 15 they voted 15-0 to oppose Prop 92. The Regents also expressed concern that it could leave less state General Fund money available for discretionary purposes, including programs such as UC and the California State University, which are not protected by state guarantees or mandates.

According to the University of California President’s office’s press release, “UCs share of the state General Fund has fallen from 7 percent in 1970 to just over 3 percent. Since 1990, the state’s contribution to the cost of education for each UC student has fallen 34 percent, from $15,830 to $10,370 in constant inflation-adjusted dollars.”

It continues to say that, “Proposition 92 would be the latest in a long series of ballot measures that dedicate or ‘lock up’ an ever-greater amount and share of the state’s General Fund. It would restrict the ability of the Legislature and the Governor to set state spending priorities in the annual budget process at a time when the state is expected to face even larger budget deficits.”

On Nov. 13 the California State University Board of Trustees also voted to oppose the measure because it would allocate an additional $300 million to community colleges, but at the same time provide no new sources of revenue.

Ferguson wants to create attention and support for the proposition by “having a rally on campus for teachers and students on Jan. 15 from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Plaza Vaquero.”

Supporters of the initiative include the California School Employees Association, the Sacramento Metro Chamber, the North Bay Labor Council, the Sacramento Central Labor Council and the California Community College Association.