By Marjorie Blen, Senior Fellow at Students Making a Change
The condition of public education in this state needs to be addressed. Even here at City College, our facilities struggle to keep up with the demands of modern education.
From unusable desks to broken pipes, it’s hard not to see that our campus is buckling under the strain of serving so many students for so many years without large-scale repair.
As we all know, City College of San Francisco is one of the largest community colleges in California, yet it fails to provide adequate buildings for their students. The science building has small classrooms where all students are crammed in there along with poor air circulation and old windows that can’t be opened. Pipes are directly above our heads in the classrooms from the above bathrooms, so we can hear every time someone flushes. The bathroom itself has out of service toilets, missing tiles, and door stalls that do not work properly.
Like all of California’s public colleges—both two-year and four-year—City College of San Francisco is in dire need of funds to renovate aging classrooms, dorms, and facilities.
For students like me, issues like dilapidated classrooms and unsafe drinking water threaten not only our education but our safety. In order to ensure that California public students receive the education we deserve, we must work to address these challenges.
In 2008, the Great Recession caused California’s investment in public higher education to plummet. The effects are still felt by students today. Across the UC, CSU, and state community college systems, aging equipment and facilities require updates and repairs.
That’s why I am joining the bipartisan California Coalition for Public Higher Education: teachers, doctors, nurses, firefighters, and military veterans in supporting Prop. 13. If passed, Proposition 13 will provide $15 billion in critically needed funding to protect the health and safety of students in California’s public education institutions at every level.
Despite a case of mistaken identity that has led to understandable voter confusion surrounding the proposition’s name, it is important to note that Prop. 13 on the March 3 ballot will help fund public education and has nothing to do with enacting fundamental reforms of the state’s property tax laws.
In actuality, Prop. 13 will provide $2 billion each to fix buildings on CSU campuses, where half the space is 40 years or older. It will provide $2 billion to the UC system, and another $2 billion to community colleges.
It will also provide $9 billion to make Pre-K through Grade 12 public schools safe for students. Among other projects, it will fund the removal of asbestos and mold and the replacement of outdated drinking water systems.
Not only will Prop. 13 pay for much-needed repairs and renovations to our public halls of learning, but it also includes significant protections for taxpayer money. It requires public hearings to get public input, limits administrative costs, and requires independent performance audits of the projects it funds.
As the strongest state-wide school bond measure in California history, Prop. 13 represents a reinvestment in a public higher education system that was once the envy of the world. A yes vote on Prop. 13 is a vote for the future of California.
So please help us get this vital bond measure approved. Get registered, grab your ballot, go to the polls, and vote YES on Prop 13 on March 3.
For more information about Prop.13, please visit http://yestohighered.org/.