Popular hobbies of students here include spending hours refreshing the PCC Book Sale Facebook page, moaning “I need this class,” upon every class registration season, and hunting for events on campus that include free food. These scenarios prove how college is a true test of money management. Voting ‘no’ on Prop 55 ultimately asks for these episodes to continue.
According to The Community College Review, California’s community colleges lost nearly $102 million in the 2011-2012 school year, which steered the state to increase community college’s tuition from $36 to $46 per unit. This economic consequence broke community college systems’ universal promise of lower costs.
The community college route convinces students that they could still receive their desired bachelors in about four years while saving thousands of dollars. A $10 increase may not seem like the biggest price jump until you transfer to your dream university and realize you’re short a few hundred dollars that could have been saved by attending community college.
There were also 30,000 employee layoffs, discontinuation of extracurricular activities and services, and larger classroom size statewide according to the California Teachers Association, which leads to the next broken promises of community college: smaller classes and a variety of social activities on campus. Hopefully, statistics classes are still offered because it looks like the only thing that the state economy knows is the negative correlation between students paying more for less than what they receive.
Prop 55 is a 12-year extension of Prop 30: increasing income tax for the wealthy and sales tax for everyone in California. When Prop 30 passed in 2012, PCC received several long-term benefits that prevented the mentioned nightmares from happening– yet, at least.
According to PCC Vice President Richard Storti, Prop 30 prevented classes at PCC from discontinuing, and contributed to professors’ instructional use, promoting interaction and efficiency in classrooms.
PCC has been acknowledged for numerous, pretentious titles, including an ASPEN finalist, and it’s owed up to Prop 30 for providing the grant that professors needed to give the students the knowledge they yearn for.
With such a positive momentum like this, the best is yet to come.
“We think if Prop 55 passes, [we could receive] about $14 million a year,” Storti said. “It depends on the state of the economy.”
Despite the funds Prop 30 has provided, the education niche can never feel financially safe for long, so PCC should hold back from tooting their own horn, for now.
According to Storti, funds will fluctuate with the economy, so decreasing income tax rates could even result in an economic status worse than what it was before Prop 30’s passage.
Next school year, California will need to hire 22,000 teachers. The 2107-2018 school year could potentially be PCC’s year of experiencing those broken promises if tax rates don’t remain stable.
The passing of prop 55 doesn’t guarantee taxes to be a long-term source of funds since everyone’s sale taxes will be decreased regardless of the outcome. That’s already up to $4 million PCC is expected to lose.
According to Storti, state revenue has increased, which could cushion the school’s funds, but school budgets have been, and always will be, unpredictable and correlating with the economy.
“We are going to be in a very tight spot [if tax rates discontinue],” Storti said. “Not only PCC but every community college and every school district in the state. The education community in California will have to plan and think of a solution.”
All funds are controlled by school boards and are not allowed to be used by the Legislature. This proposition also guarantees transparency from school districts, so all students and faculty see all financial decisions and mishaps made within the district. Students always want to be sure that what they’ve spent matches the quality of education they’re receiving, and Prop 55’s transparency allows students to see how hard the board works financially to provide them the education they paid for, and deserve.
Prop 55 can be accused of breaking the “temporary” promise of increasing tax rates five years, but it’s not like Prop 55 asked for anything permanent, either– 12 years is long, but no, it doesn’t say forever. Everything may “add up” tax-wise, but funds go back to PCC, and the promised transparency can prove it. If that’s not enough for the broke a college student to ask for, then they can go back to free food hunting and textbook PDF searching. Balance out the economic correlation of tuition price to student services with a yes vote on Prop 55 on Nov. 8.