An Opportunity for California's Next Governor

By Larry Galizio, Ph.D.
President & CEO, Community College League of California 

Monday, October 15, 2018

California’s next Governor is in the enviable position to strengthen local economies in rural, urban, and suburban areas statewide, enhance employment opportunities for low and middle-income individuals and their families, and support growing industries in need of skilled and educated employees. And the Governor can do this early in his term and enjoy the political benefits of ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the state’s most popular higher education institutions: California’s community colleges.

For despite passage of Proposition 51 in 2016 which provided $2 billion dollars in general obligation bonds for California community college projects meeting all of the criteria for acceptance, only a meager number of Board of Governor-approved projects have been funded.

With interest rates and building costs increasing substantially, California’s next Governor can save taxpayers millions of dollars, strengthen our state’s capacity to provide education and workforce development in key economic sectors, and honor the will of the voters by releasing Proposition 51-approved bond dollars and begin to chip away at the $29.9 billion in unmet facility needs identified by the current Capital Outlay Plan.

As of this writing, there are almost 60 community college capital projects that have local support, have been approved by the Board of Governors, and are simply waiting for Proposition 51 dollars to be released. Whether it’s Merced College’s Agricultural Science and Industrial Technologies Complex that will replace a 50 year-old dilapidated structure, or a Science and Technology Building at Mt. San Jacinto College, now is the time to invest voter-approved resources to enhance our economic competitiveness and opportunities for low and middle-income Californians to achieve the social mobility necessary for California’s future.