Along with being hit hard by vast budget cuts, the California Community Colleges have not been receiving their full percentage of state funding. For this reason, the Pierce College Associated Students Organization will be sending 10 of their members to Sacramento to meet with legislators and voice their concerns.
“We’re trying to find out why we’re not getting our percent of the budget,” said ASO treasurer Adrian Garcia, who is in charge of planning the trip.
According to the California Legislative Analyst’s office, current law requires that elementary schools, secondary schools and community colleges, collectively referred to as K-14, receive at least minimum funding, which is allocated through the state general fund and through property taxes.
ASO faculty advisor Brad Saenz said that CCC should receive 11 percent of the total funding set aside for K-14 schools; however, this has not been the case.
“We’ve never received the full 11 percent,” Saenz said. “It’s between nine and 10 percent.”
That one percent really adds up – to about $450 million dollars.
The ASO trip is tentatively scheduled for May 9 to 11, as the ASO is still trying to arrange appointments with senators, said Sallay Mannah, the ASO social-cultural chair.
ASO makes a trip every semester, usually to Sacramento or Washington, D.C., to bring attention to issues affecting Pierce.
“This is really going to affect the students,” Mannah said. “That’s why we’re going to Sacramento, to ask those questions.”
Another concern is Proposition 92, which was on the ballot in February. If it had passed, it would have separated community college funding from that of the K-12 schools, and would have included growth factors as a tool for setting the colleges’ funding, according to the California Legislative Analyst’s office.
Because the community colleges remain joined with K-12 schools, it is harder to discern why the funding is not being accurately distributed, Saenz said.