The district should be more proactive in I-TAP negotiations

As we reach the end of the spring semester, student commuters are anxiously waiting to see what the future holds for the discontinued student I-TAP card.

The bond, which funded the discounted I-TAP card for the past two years, is empty and will be cutoff, unless colleges’ Associated Student Organizations (ASO) have a referendum.

Currently a referendum is the only other option, and it would make all students, even those who don’t use public transportation, pay $25 to $50 fees.

With the recent unit fee increase of $10, students will pay $36 per unit beginning in the fall. That may be enough for students, especially those who don’t use public transportation, to vote against the alternative.

A solution that hasn’t been discussed but may work is that both the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) and each campus’ ASO dip into their reserve funds and split the cost to renew a contract with Metro.

This solution seems the most logical and beneficial to students.

After all, the ASO and LACCD are here to help students and satisfy their needs.

Former LACCD Chancellor Dr. Marshall E. Drummond expressed the commitment to helping students.

“In these tough economic times, we are intensely committed to insuring that our students have easy, affordable access to our campuses through a variety of transit channels,” he said in a Metro article January 2009.

Surely, Dr. Daniel LaVista (the current LACCD chancellor) has the same vision.

Renewing a deal with Metro and securing students with discounted I-TAP cards would help students and may be a steppingstone to repair the district’s image after all the headlines they’ve been making for wasteful spending.

With class cuts, some classes students need to transfer are not offered at every campus. Students count on Metro to get them to other campuses.

Metro specifically made stops for Orange and Red Lines at LACCD colleges to make it easier on students.

Take a minute and think about it.

This is a much better alternative than having every student pay $25 to $50 fees for services not every student will use. That is similar to the $11 health fee or $7 ASO fee students are required to pay, although they don’t all use the service.

If the district chooses to go that route, you may see a lot of students switching to schools outside the LACCD where they don’t have to pay unnecessary fees.

If discounted I-TAP cards are no longer offered in the fall, students would have to pay $20 for the week. In a 16-week semester that is an increase of $300.

Adding the extra $300 to a full-time (12 units) student’s schedule, with the $10 unit increase, students would be paying an extra $732 next semester, than they did this semester.

Do the right thing and don’t make funding for this service come out of students’ pockets.