Endorsement: Vote yes on Measure LA to invest in community colleges
Monday, Oct. 28, 2012
By Mark Johnson
The future of many of our community colleges is in jeopardy. That’s because, unlike the state university system, not a dime in state support has been dedicated toward maintaining community colleges.
And many of us have heard there was a big shake-up in State Board of Control executive leadership on Monday. Some of the board’s members don’t believe the board members will continue to be there and as a result we will have fewer oversight and accountability for the college system’s budget and student outcomes, we will be without the votes they need to pass more critical decisions, and that is exactly what could happen. And our local community colleges are in jeopardy.
The state board of control, which oversees 13 community colleges, is in transition and the future of these institutions, at least some of them, depends on three things:
• The board members’ ability to approve critical decisions such as which facilities to replace or renovate, which courses and programs to offer and when, how to use technology and whether to offer programs to transfer to four-year institutions.
• The ability of the board to approve staff pay and benefits, especially when it comes to making critical changes in our schools such as the proposed elimination of tenure.
• The ability of the community colleges to continue their financial stability and remain in an environment that, in many cases, is not going to be sustainable at the end of this year.
There is nothing wrong with a shake-up in our board of Control, but we need a shake-up that goes further beyond these three areas. The solution is to give the board more power to make difficult decisions like eliminating tenure and restructuring facilities, instead of just approving them. Right now, the board’s decisions are often only recommended by the administration and are then voted on by the community college board of trustees.
What we really need to be focused on is the board members’ ability to ensure our campuses are being adequately funded with increased state aid, and we need to know where the money is going and how it is being used. If the majority of the board members cannot or will not make critical decisions, we will be setting our future on a path for financial failure.
Measure LA is the perfect solution. Measure LA would give the board the authority and resources to make critical decisions