Student Government to Protest State Budget Cuts

Shearson Unda

Associated Students of Glendale Community College (ASGCC) officers plan to visit Sacramento on March 14 to join the March in March rally against educational budget cuts and to urge legislators to approve a tax-extension referendum on the June ballot.

The student government, which meets every Tuesday at the Student Center, plans to work on persuading state assembly members and senators to allow the tax-extension measure to be placed on the June 7th ballot. The deadline for consideration is March 10.

ASGCC President Janet Shamilian said, “We’re setting up appointments with the legislature and assembly members and we’re tackling those that are more for the [extension].”

Vice President of Finance Pedro Kim said, “The ASGCC is taking a proactive stance in the advocacy of the proposed tax extensions.”

The tax extension would not increase the tax rate, but would merely continue those already in place on property, sales and state income taxes as well as motor vehicle fees.

The upcoming “March in March” is a protest in response to Jerry Brown’s proposals including budget cuts statewide for Community Colleges. Browns’ plan could cause a $10 increase in unit fees, which would raise student fees from $26 per unit to $36.

The school system could experience a drastic state fund cut, “If it doesn’t go through (the tax proposal) the community college system will take a 10 to 12 million dollar hit,” said Shamilian.
“It will take you 50 percent longer to transfer/graduate. If the average student takes four years to get a Bachelor’s degree, it will take you around six years,” stated Kim.

Also, if these tax extensions are not placed on the ballot, or if they are not passed, GCC must undergo a 15 percent budget cut, “compromising an insurmountable number of services we provide to the students,” claimed Kim.
Before heading out to the state capitol in mid-March, the ASGCC has a conference set up with several other colleges, which will take the form of an informal “mixer.” Student representatives are invited to this meeting.

President Shamilian hoped to reach out to other student body presidents at the meeting of the various schools in our region. In her efforts, she hopes to encourage other community college student governments to contact their district representatives and voice their opinions. Community college supporters will be among the key advocates of getting this change on the ballot.

According to Shamilian, the protest this month is critical to getting the referendum on the ballot and giving the voters in California a chance to vote to support educational spending.

In addition to ASGCC efforts to lobby for change, “We are hoping to start facebook groups and propaganda via the Internet . a basic letter stating what will happen if the summer is cut out and the winter is cut out,” said Shamilian. This page,”Keep tuition at $26 unit instead of $66 unit” can be found at!/pages/Keep-tuition-at-26unit-instead-of-66unit/201653586527705.

In those policy statements they will include small prompts that show the effects of the budget cuts to make the impact clear to the students and staff involved.

“The time to act is NOW. These are exciting times for us students. Our voices matter the most at these times, and, together, unified, we can save our schools, and keep the public education system public,” said Kim.