Update on Tax Extensions on June Ballot - March 10, 2011
On the budget front, Gov. Jerry Brown yesterday announced that even though he missed his self imposed March 10 deadline for placing tax extensions on a June special election ballot, he remains optimistic he can acquire the Republican votes necessary to do so. Further he has asked that members of the Legislature refrain from voting on a budget until he has reached a compromise with key Republicans whose votes he seeks to obtain.
During the March board of governors meeting, Gov. Brown dropped by to encourage members of the board to do all they can to help his effort to allow Californians an opportunity to vote for his plan to balance the budget. He left 45 minutes later having stated his case to stave off cuts to the community colleges that could push past $1 billion if his tax extension proposal doesn’t reach the ballot, or loses in a June special election.
“We need a great debate, what is the role of community colleges in this state?” Brown said to the board, a packed meeting room and a large media presence. “Community colleges are important to our culture, our society and our democracy. It’s about skill achievement. If you’re more capable, you’re a more productive member of society. Why not pay for that?”
Brown has pushed for a June vote to allow the state’s citizens to either approve a five-year extension in taxes or to double the cuts already proposed to close the state’s $27 billion budget deficit. Republicans have resisted the governor’s request to place the tax extension proposal on a June 7 ballot. He told the audience that the OKs of only two Republicans in the Assembly and two in the Senate are needed to get the vote before the people. But with stiff political pressure and threats from within their party, Brown said, those Republican votes have been hard to find.
“This vote isn’t just about taxes but also cuts,” Brown said. “The question before the people should be do we extend the taxes or go with an all-cuts budget? This proposal has such a profound impact that I don’t think the Legislature of itself should make that decision. To let the people vote on this was not just a campaign promise but a commitment to reinvigorate the people and let them offer their judgment.”
Chancellor Jack Scott welcomed Gov. Brown to the meeting and before Brown spoke, he reiterated his position on the tax extension proposal, "The California Community Colleges is willing to do its part to help balance the state budget. But the $800 million or more reduction that's been discussed as part of an all cuts budget would result in immediate and damaging consequences for students. It would be 'tragic' if a tax extension does not get on the ballot because reductions of this magnitude would mean more and more Californians will be denied higher education."
Gov. Brown speaks about transfer reform - Brown’s first elected office was as a board member to the Los Angeles Community College District. He began his conversation with members of the board of governors by asking Chancellor Scott about student transfer reform.
Scott replied that representatives of the California Community Colleges and the California State University continue to meet to make transfer reform a reality for students enrolled in the fall of 2011. Brown then asked about a reformed transfer path for community colleges and the University of California. When told there wasn't one, Brown pledged that he would get the University of California Board of Regents moving on forming a partnership similar to the one that will roll out between the California Community Colleges and the California State University. "I'll get the UCs on board," Brown said. "Let's do it."
The board of governors also approved its goals for 2011. Those goals include continuing to work with the State Board of Education to focus on career-technical education, concurrent enrollment and college readiness. The board also voted to increase its advocacy efforts, with particular attention paid to Gov. Brown’s administration, and to continue to work to develop programs and opportunities for veterans attending our community colleges. Members of the board also met with state Legislators to encourage support for placing the tax extension proposal on a June ballot.
On the student transfer reform front, the student transfer task force reported last week that the first three Transfer Model Curriculum (TMC) proposals were sent to all 23 of the California State University campuses. The colleges were asked if a student arrives with a TMC–aligned associate degree in sociology, psychology and communication studies majors, could they graduate the student in 60 additional units? California State University administrators and faculty were also asked to identify which majors they consider “similar” to each TMC.
In the first round of inquiries, 21 California State University campuses responded. Of those responses, 18 campuses said they have majors that would accept a TMC-aligned degree in sociology and psychology. Communication studies got a nod from 16 campuses. That means that two-thirds of the state colleges have approved the first three TMC degrees. But, all was not smooth sailing as San Diego State University reported that none of the first three TMCs were similar to the degrees it offered. Although progress has been made, much more work needs to be done if students are to take advantage of the transfer reforms in fall 2011.
More than 10 discipline groups met Feb. 25 in San Jose and developed approximately 50 draft curriculum descriptions and six new TMCs for degrees. On March 11, a similar meeting will be held in Irvine where faculty will build on the work begun in San Jose.
March in March is this Monday and the question is: Will You Be Ready?
As many as 20,000 students, faculty and staff are expected to converge at 9:30 a.m. on the California Automobile Museum in Old Sacramento on March 14 for a march to and a rally on the north steps of the Capitol to show support for the community colleges. It’s not too late to join a group or hitch a ride to Sacramento and join the March in March. For more information, go to www.studentsenateccc.org<http://www.studentsenateccc.org> or e-mail President Alex Pader at firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>.
The Office of Communications will continue to keep you up to speed on the latest events and system-wide initiatives. Feel free to call or e-mail us if you would like more information on these topics or other items pertaining to statewide budget, messaging and advocacy efforts.
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