The budget of our futures

As students, our failure to act in unity has cost us greatly in terms of community college funding.

California community colleges may lose up to $525 million, according to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed 2008-09 state budget.

Community college enrollment is rising, especially at Pierce College, yet the amount of money we receive from the state is plummeting.

Proposition 92, which would have decreased tuition by 25 percent, would have also guaranteed community colleges a fixed portion of the budget, separate from K-12.

Also, it would have placed limits on the legislature’s ability to raise unit fees.

More than 130,000 students are being educated by the Los Angeles Community College District, which is the largest of its kind in the United States.

However, despite extremely high enrollment rates, compared to UC and Cal State schools, our funding is second class.

The proposition was denied by 57 percent of voters.

If more community college students had been involved in the state budget crisis, this proposition may have been passed.

Our district will never improve in the ways we want it to unless we fight for our own stability.

There is strength in numbers when decisions involving community colleges are concerned. Although Pierce may only be a stepping stone to reach our educational goals, thousands will be in our shoes in years to come.

It is important that we secure for others what we are leaving behind.

Pierce President Robert Garber, on his own time, raised funds to support and protect community colleges by encouraging citizens to vote yes for Proposition 92.

One man did so much to bring the budget issue into visibility, yet our student body, consisting of 20,000, did not raise any funds to support the proposition.

We should be active and passionate about receiving proper funding for our education.

The state budget is complicated. With a labyrinth of numbers in constant fluctuation, yet seeming to spiral downward, the end result is anything but clear.

The timing could not have been worse for such a large deficit. Enrollment is increasing while funding is decreasing.

If community college students do not step up to the plate and support our system, we will be left in the shadows of UC and Cal State funding forever.

Let’s not give up on this struggle to receive our share of the state budget. We have to fight for our rights or they will be silently taken from us.

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