Measure PCC was approved by The Pasadena City College Board of Trustees during a special meeting last month giving voters the opportunity to approve additional funding for student services and facilities for the school by raising property taxes in the district.

Ballot initiative Measure PCC would fund projects and add to the school’s budget, compensating for what the state does not provide beyond operational costs for projects like additional student services, expanded job training, low-cost higher education, and upgrades to classrooms, labs, and technological equipment. Other aspects of the measure include building maintenance, and expansion to additional satellite campuses to further the reach of Pasadena City College.

The ballot initiative was originally proposed by the school president Erika Endrijonas, to continue to provide the college with funding to expand services beyond operating costs. It was later passed by The Board of Trustees, who collaborated with the school presidents on a Facilities Master Plan, a long term roadmap for the school which would be partially funded by the $ 565 million dollars in Measure PCC.

Originally the total value of the initiative was at $888 million, in 2015.

“We [The PCC Board of Trustees] did not have a facilities master plan at that time, and wasn’t willing to give voters a cake [referring to the unfinished Facilities Master Plan] that wasn’t fully baked, ” Jim Osterling said, a board member from area 2.

To fund Measure PCC, property taxes for those in the Pasadena City College district, which includes, Altadena, Pasadena, South Pasadena, San Marino, Arcadia, Rosemead, Sierra Madre, and La Canada Flintridge, would increase once from $ 8.99 to $ 20, per every 100,000 dollars of assessed market value on a property. Although it requires at least 55% of voters to approve the measure.

“So many of our voters have a tremendous affinity and respect for PCC, that despite the uncertain times that were in, I think and I hope this will pass,” Osterling said.

In a conversation with Jeffrey Birkmeyer a property owner and president of Analog Construction and Real Estate in the Altadena area, he seemed willing to vote in favor of the measure and raise property taxes, despite the state of the economy, for the continued benefits of students and higher education, echoing the sentiment expressed by Mr. Osterling.

The funding generated by the increased property taxes would stay in the district, and could not be taken away by the state. A citizens oversight committee would be created to make sure that the funding over the next several years is properly used and spent on projects that the money is meant for. Independent audits would also be included for the oversight of the funding.

To address these shortcomings, ballot initiatives like Measure PCC are needed to maintain high-quality services and the continued upgrades to college infrastructure.

“They expect the local school districts and community colleges to fund facilities through local bond measures,” Osterling said via email.

A number of the projects on campus are considered shovel-ready, and are going to get started as funding is made available if Measure PCC passes. But, projects like the U building, red-tagged as not earthquake safe in 2012, are being rebuilt, and will need additional funding to be completed.

Osterling did not specify how the money would be allocated.

“So [one] I’ve already mentioned and that’s to rebuild or upgrade our red tagged and yellow tag, existing old buildings. That’s going to be a significant, important early chunk of the money,” Osterling said. “Another really important element, we have a huge district geographically” [so] we are committed to a strategy of satellite campuses.”

Advocacy for the measure has been conducted but has been limited, as the Board of Trustees cannot be directly involved. Instead, the PCC Foundation, an independent organization, has put its resources into getting the word out to voters, and people in the district on the importance of Measure PCC, and the funding it will bring to the school for the future. Both the school Administration and The Board of Trustees, are required by law to stay away from advocating for Measure PCC, and its passage.

In addition, students and faculty can share their feedback and priorities with the college here to have an impact on how the money is spent.

 

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