With Proposition 30 being passed by voters in the election, California community colleges will be able to avoid $338 million in budget cuts and will gain $210 million in revenue.
Voters said “Yes” to increasing taxes on individuals who earn an annual income of more than $250,000 for seven years, as well as increasing sales tax for four years by one quarter of a penny starting on Jan. 1.
“Cosumnes River College and the Los Rios District are grateful to those who voted yes on Proposition 30,” said CRC President Dr. Deborah Travis. “While we are celebrating its passage, we also understand that many challenges lie ahead and we will need to rebuild the student access that’s been lost over the last few years.
“However, I am confident we will face those challenges together and the college, its students and the community will begin to see the benefits of Prop 30’s passage soon.”
In a teleconference on Nov. 7, California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris said that California schools will be able to add 20,000 students statewide.
Harris said that Proposition 30 “gets the state’s commitment to higher education back on track,” and “makes good on funding the state has deferred.”
Harris also noted that Proposition 30 passing will not restore schools to “pre-recession” level.
Cosumnes River College Dean of humanities and social sciences Ginny McReynolds said that her department was faced with cutting over 25 classes over the next year if Proposition 30 had failed.
McReynolds said that cuts to courses would not occur, and “there could be some addition, but it could stay flat.”
“Our goal is to work with the district to see what their plans are,” McReynolds said. She said that the district is currently assessing the proposition’s passage, and described Los Rios as a “smart and frugal district.”
McReynolds has served at CRC for the past four years. She previously worked at Sacramento City College and said she has never seen education is such bad shape.
“For me, what the relief is, is that people understand the importance of education, the importance of community college education,” McReynolds said.
Communications Dean Torence Powell said that school officials were “more invested in building scenarios if it [Proposition 30] didn’t pass.”
Powell said that he stayed up until midnight watching election coverage, and was hopeful that Proposition 30 would pass. When he was watching, Proposition 30 was hovering around 47 to 49 percent “Yes” votes.
The next morning, Powell awoke to a text message saying that Proposition 30 passed, and called it “a good precedent for California.”
“I was very grateful to California and to voters for prioritizing,” Powell said. “An investment in students is an investment in ourselves, our future and our economy.”
Powell said it is hard to estimate how many cuts his department was facing because it had more performance and lab classes, and it was hard to find equivalents. He said it wouldn’t have been as large as the humanities and social science department, as communications isn’t as large a department.
Powell said the only drawback he could think of is that the quarter of a penny sales tax increase would affect everyone, and those with lower incomes would be affected disproportionately.
“It’s a small price to pay for higher education,” he said about the “very small drawback.”
History professor and CRC campus President of the Los Rios College Federation of Teacher Jason Newman was worried that the proposition would not pass.
“The efforts of students in particular in campaigning pushed it over the edge into victory,” Newman said.