Editorial-More money, less problems- yes on Prop. 92

The Channels Editorial Staff, The Channels Editorial Staff, and The Channels Editorial Staff

Proposition 92 must pass come February to ensure that community colleges across the state continue to provide a quality education at discount prices.

It’s not so often that students can directly benefit from voting. But if passed, resident students will only pay $15 per-unit, a total of a $5 reduction compared to the current fees. The fees would be at fixed rate, so that enrolling students can anticipate a stable cost for their education and not be floored once they see the prices go up. City College students could only benefit from the affordability and stability of lowered per-unit fees. Maybe that one class that actually looks fun but doesn’t transfer can now be added because money would normally be reserved for priority classes. So, students might enjoy themselves more and have a little extra money to carry with them through the rest of their inevitably expensive college career.

City College is a major hub for students with goals to transfer. Decreased fees will only make City College a more accessible and efficient gateway to higher education.

Also known as the Community College Initiative, Prop. 92 would also provide California community colleges a stable source of funds tied solely to community college enrollment growth. Now, their funding is included in the kindergarten-12th grade bracket and is affected by any change in enrollment in high schools or elementary schools because public schools receive funding by the students enlisted.

If passed, community college funding would no longer be determined by K-12 enrollment as it was before. Superintendent-President John Romo, among other college officials, are warning that K-12 enrollment rates in Santa Barbara are declining while enrollment at the community college level is predicted to rise.

Setting community colleges under a separate funding category will guarantee that we will receive the adequate amount of funding in order to fully provide for a possible influx of community college students and not lose money or be negatively impacted if K-12s continue to decline. With more funding for more students, City College can ensure student success by adding more programs designed to aid students in learning, hiring more exceptional professors, and providing enough resources and materials for students.

Exactly how much money are we looking at here? If passed, Prop. 92 would add an extra $5.2 million into City College accounts. The extra money could have excellent benefits for the students, faculty, the school and the community at large.

With the extra cash in the colleges’ coffers, it could continue to pursue faculty housing to retain teachers forced to leave the area because of the high living costs. It could continue on its plan for improvement and expansion with the proposed SoMa building, retrofitting and modernizing facilities and equipping classrooms with high-tech tools that help to add to the learning experience. It could build upon the Continuing Education program by adding a third off-campus location and provide more Adult Ed classes and lecture series that have become wildly popular in our town.

What’s more, with a chunk of the $5.2 million, full time faculty pay could increase. The more money they get, the more likely they will stay here. Other schools are extremely competitive, and losing valuable teachers over pay is always a tragedy.

Prop. 92 is a complete win-win situation for the state and for the entire Santa Barbara community.