Letter from the editor: I’m tired
I’m tired. I bet you’re tired, too, and midterms haven’t even hit yet.
It’s not just school, though.
I’m tired of two party politics and the Republican National Convention—the Democrats are preparing to hold their own flag waving party this week.
I’m tired of being poor—I quit my job at the beginning of summer to focus entirely on school but I don’t qualify for unemployment, which means I have to take out even more student loans.
One of the wealthiest people on the planet, an Australian woman named Gina Rinehart, made headlines this past week for saying that poor people should work harder, play less and stop complaining. No wonder I’m poor! I wasn’t trying hard enough.
According to news reports, she’s worth nearly $30 billion (a fortune she inherited) and also advocates lowering the minimum wage in Australia. The San Francisco minimum wage is $10.24 per hour—one of the highest in the nation—and many people still struggle to live in this city.
Blame it on the cost of living. Rent, food, transportation and health care—for working class and poor people, it’s all expensive.
Which brings me to another thing I’m tired of: the American fear of paying taxes.
Public education has faced cuts for years, particularly since California voters passed Prop 13 in 1978, which decimated the state’s progressive tax system.
Prop 13 not only lowered property taxes (which funded public services such as education) but also required a two-thirds majority vote by state legislators to increase taxes—a nearly impossible feat.
Fast-foward to today and budget cuts are pinching public education.
City College needs the governor’s tax initiative, Prop 30, in addition to a local parcel tax, Prop A, to pass this November just to break even. And even those are temporary fixes, only slated to last seven and eight years, respectively.
Although not as strong as the now defunct Millionaire’s Tax, Prop 30 would only affect personal income starting at $250,000 and would impose a tax increase of one to three percentage points—something that will hardly break the bank at those incomes but would bring in desperately needed revenue to public education, including community colleges.
Prop 30 would also increase the sales and use tax one-quarter cent per dollar for four years.
Why should City College care? Because we’re broke and getting slapped on the hand for dipping into our financial reserves—a last resort effort by administrators to keep the school running as close to normal as possible.
The state chancellor’s office hired an independent team of experts to help our Board of Trustees evaluate its financial woes and some of their preliminary recommendations are startling.
Called the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team, one of their recommendations are that the college eliminate or scale back the number of department chairs and consolidate their responsibilities into the hands of the deans.
City College has six “schools”, each with a dean that oversee a total of 61 individual departments, each with its own head, or “chair”.
The chairs deal with the daily operations of their respective departments and are liaisons for students and other faculty members, alike.
Nearly two months ago, the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges told the college that, among other things, the school had too few experienced administrators.
Talk about mixed messages.
So which recommendations does the board follow? Hire more administrators to satisfy the commission—the independent organization with the power to revoke the school’s accreditation—or downsize administrator positions even further as part of a slew of recommendations by the expert crisis team to restore fiscal solvency?
Sounds like a catch-22 to me.
And now I’m tired. It’s time for a brief nap.
Follow Sara on Twitter: @bloomreports