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Ohlone board supports lower fees Ohlone board endorses fee cuts

Proposition will be on ballot in February

By Staff reports.

Saturday, November 10, 2007—Reprinted from Inside Bay Area.

The Ohlone College board has adopted a resolution on a plan to reduce student fees and establish a minimum level of state funding for community college districts.

Proposition 92—officially known as the Community College Governance, Funding Stabilization, and Student Fee Reduction Act—would set community college fees at $15 per unit per semester and limit future fee increases. The current student fee of $20 per unit took effect in January.

About 305,000 fewer students than expected enrolled in community colleges across California when fees were increased to $26 in 2004, according to Ohlone staff reports.

The proposal would guarantee that students get at least 60 days notice before any fee increase takes effect, and it would ensure that fee revenue stays with community colleges instead of being diverted to other state programs.

Ohlone Trustee John Weed said the real advantageof Proposition 92 is that it separates community college districts from elementary through high school districts.

Currently, the two tiers are treated as one in determining what general fund and local property tax revenue goes to the districts.

With the change, Weed said, the initiative would guarantee funding to community colleges as their student enrollments increase.

I think this will allow the continuing funding as we double in size over the next 20 or 25 years, he said.

I believe a 3 percent sustained growth is going to be the expectation, and its going to be a reality.

The act also would establish a statewide chancellor to oversee the community college system, and create locally elected governing boards, which would be accountable to state voters.

Trustee Bob Brunton said the dense language of the proposal was hard for the average resident to understand.

I wish the initiative were cleaner, simpler and shorter, he said. Theres no question a lot of compromises have been put into this, and theres a lot of wishful thinking here. Im just concerned that taxes may be raised. If this can be done without raising taxes, Ill support this.

Voters will decide the fate of the initiative on Feb. 5, when Californias presidential primary will be held.

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