Published: Friday, February 14, 2014
Updated: Friday, February 14, 2014 14:02
Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed a budget aimed at increasing the funding available to California community colleges.
In May, the Legislature will review the budget proposal, and after members make revisions, the proposal will be voted on by July 1.
The proposed budget would provide $1 billion in funding statewide, which colleges meeting their Full-Time Equivalent Student goals would have access to.
The budget proposal would allow for the Contra Costa Community College District to earn an additional $4 million in funding – with the caveat that the district must obtain an additional 850 FTES across the three colleges.
While this sounds great, it denies the reality that Contra Costa College has been facing over the last few semesters. Enrollment has done everything but increase.
The college’s goal and focus should be on helping students achieve, whether that achievement be a degree, transferring to another college or just enriching their lives through life-long learning.
The governor’s proposal would require the college administration to act as an advertising firm, on top of its current responsibilities.
While the increased funding would certainly help not only the students at CCC, but also the surrounding community, it is just a carrot on a stick. It is a treat that everyone in the area wants, but is not likely to ever get.
Diablo Valley College and Los Medanos College are positioned in areas where they were capable of erecting second-campuses. DVC has the San Ramon campus, and LMC has the Brentwood center. CCC, however, is in an area surrounded by impacted urban sprawl.
The campus is currently undergoing construction. This construction has, and will continue for the next three years, to severely limit the amount of space, and thus access to, the campus that students would otherwise have.
The governor’s heart is certainly in the right place. California’s community colleges need help. With the ever-rising cost of higher education, people need a way to educate themselves in a way that does not put them in debt for the rest of their lives, and community colleges provide that opportunity.
But if the governor and the state Legislature really want to do something positive for the state, they need to find a way to inject funding into community colleges without all the red tape and conditions attached to it.
Maybe the governor needs to hire an advertising firm to convince Californians that giving more to state education is the answer, instead of requiring educators to act as a marketing department.