With the Associated Students members passing out voter registration forms and Bob Marley’s ‘One Love’ playing on a small boombox, many students, faculty and staff gathered in support of the Proposition 92 in the Boone Sculpture Garden on Thursday.”Prop. 92 is designed to create a stable and predictable funding for students it will lower their tuition from $20 per unit to $15 per unit,” said PCC President Dr. Paulette Perfumo.
Like many, Perfumo sees the lowered tuition fee as a chance to give more people an opportunity to attend college.
“If Prop. 92 passes, all of the funds stay locally and we can use that to add high demand sections and more instructional equipment. The student’s funds stay here and there would be lowered tuition.”
“As community college students a lot of us pay for our own housing, clothes, education. Lower fees is a great thing. It’s going to get more people involved,” said Associated Students President Michael Sansosti.
Last year, around 2,000 signatures were collected on campus and over $100,000 donated to the campaign to put Proposition 92 on the February ballot school.
As the event was one of many rallies taking place across the state of California, school members were not their only supporters. Many labor groups, business groups and communities are behind this as well, including support from the Valley Industry and Commerce Association and endorsement from the San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group.
“It’s rare that communities are not helped into an education by these colleges and that’s why 92 is asking for equality,” said campaign spokesperson Jennifer Wonnacott.
According to Wonnacott, community colleges would like to be in the same “playing field” as other schools because they have been under-funded by the state by over $4 billion in the past 10 years.
The drafting of the proposition began four years ago, but it was not until the summer of 2007 that the campaign began to promote itself.
Today, the state faces a $14.5 billion deficit that will prevent full funding of education in the coming year.
Although Proposition 92 will provide funding for community colleges it will also cause the state to spend over a $100 million that it does not have. Proposition 92 will require $300 million in the next three years, said Wonnacott.
“It’s so exciting to see students stand behind something with such passion. This is actually pulling the different groups together,” added Wonnacott, who believes the campaign depends on students to spread the word amongst the community.
“It’s been the best student rally that we’ve had. It’s all students and that’s what I’m so proud of. Our students are incredible. They know the importance of this to them. They are the ones who sponsored and put this together,” said Dr. Lisa Sugimoto, vice president of student learning and services.
Although the turnout was a success to Sugimoto and others, the proposition does not go unopposed, which includes teacher unions in California.
According to the “No on Prop. 92” website, it’s passage will cut into K-12 grade funds. The California Teachers Association, one of the largest teacher unions in California, voiced its opposition by saying, “Proposition 92 is not as beneficial as people believe.”
According to the primary election website, Proposition 92 does not dedicate the money to specific purposes like computers, books and labs.
It requires no audits and contains no penalties for misusing the funds.
“I think that if the students pay more they’ll appreciate it more. But in the long run if you vote for Proposition 92 you will be investing in you’re future and the future of others,” said Erica Colon, A.S. VP of business affairs.