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Ballot Proposal To Boost California Community College Funding Defeated

BERKELEY, Calif.—Voters rejected a plan to secure more state dollars for California’s community colleges, but supporters say the campaign succeeded at drawing attention to the funding woes of the massive system.

“From our perspective, the story has now been told about the mistreatment and underfunding of community colleges,” said Scott Lay, head of the Community College League of California, a nonprofit association of the state’s 72 community college districts that supported Proposition 92.

At the No on 92 campaign, spokeswoman Theresa Wheeler called the proposition a flawed idea that would have increased state spending with no way to pay for it, besides cuts to other programs or higher taxes.

But, she added, “now is the time to work together with all of public education to ensure that all our schools are properly funded and California students get the education they deserve.”

Proposition 92 would have lowered community college fees and changed the way state funding is allocated to the system, which has about 2.5 million students on 109 campuses.

Supporters, including the California Federation of Teachers and the California Labor Federation, said it would protect community colleges.

Critics said it would have siphoned money away from other areas because it lacked a new source of revenue, a concern considering the state’s looming multibillion-dollar deficit. It was strongly opposed by the California Teachers Association, as well as the University of California and California State University systems.

With 96 percent of precincts reporting, about 57 percent of voters were against Proposition 92 and 43 percent supported it.

Community colleges were once free in California, but fees rose as the economy dipped, hitting a high of $26 per unit before dropping back to the current $20.

Proposition 92 would have reduced fees to $15 per unit and limited future increases.

–Associated Press

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