Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Victory for Prop. V and Prop. 30

 A collective sigh of relief was followed by resounding cheers last night among Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District students, officials and employees with the passage of Proposition V, the college district’s $398 million bond measure, and Proposition 30, a statewide tax measure that prevents further catastrophic cuts to education.
Voter approval of Proposition V by 56.5 percent of the East County electorate paves the way for Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges to address longstanding facility, infrastructure and technology needs. The measure required 55 percent approval of East County voters to be successful.
Statewide, voters backed public schools, colleges and universities with the passage of the governor’s hotly debated tax measure, Proposition 30, thus preventing a $338 million budget cut to California’s community colleges that would have gone into effect  had the measure been defeated.
“The election was truly a landmark event for our district and we are so excited to have the forward momentum that voters have provided,” Governing Board President Bill Garrett said.  “We’re grateful for the public’s support of Prop. V, and we’re pleased that voters understand the critical facilities and technology upgrades needed to better educate and train our students in today’s ultra-competitive world.”
Proposition 30’s victory at the polls stems four consecutive years of debilitating funding losses for the district totaling $16 million – reductions that have forced the colleges to cut more than 1,600 classes since 2008. The passage of the measure allows the college district to avert a $5.6 million state budget cut and serve more than 1,100 additional students who would otherwise have been turned away.
Chancellor Cindy L. Miles hailed Proposition V’s passage as East County’s endorsement of the college district’s excellent stewardship of public dollars as demonstrated by Proposition R, the $207 million facilities bond passed in 2002. Money from Proposition R, along with state funds, allowed for the construction or renovation of 13 major facilities, transforming the Grossmont and Cuyamaca College campuses into modern, high-tech centers of learning.
“Thanks to East County voters, the district will be able to continue the progress of Prop. R by providing the buildings, technology and infrastructure to meet students’ needs for the next two decades,” Miles said.
What’s next
Proposition V was the outcome of a two-year planning process during which a facilities master plan was developed, identifying more than $600 million in facility needs at the two campuses, which enroll about 28,000 students. Phase two, which further refines the facilities plans, is expected to be completed next spring. In the final phase, detailed architectural drawings for the campus facilities will be created.
Money from Prop. V will be used to create veterans support centers at both colleges, as well as an East County Workforce Solutions Training Center. Prop. V funds will also be used to  renovate and expand educational and career training facilities for science, medical, public safety, green technology and other fields. In addition, technology upgrades and energy-efficiency measures will be put in place as a way to reduce operational costs and to direct the savings to classroom instruction.
A key step in the Proposition V construction plan is the Governing Board’s appointment of a citizens bond oversight committee made up of East County residents with expertise in construction, procurement and finance, as well as representatives of business and taxpayer organizations.