Proposition 92: Community College initiative |

Proposition 92: Community College initiative

At Sierra College’s Tahoe-Truckee campus on a snowy Thursday afternoon, a 37-year-old community college student writes a check, in order to add a class to her schedule.

Classes may soon cost students who attend two-year institutions $5 less per credit, if California voters approve Proposition 92 on February 5.

Karyn Wright, the student with the checkbook, is working toward a degree and will eventually transfer to a four-year college. She works to pay the bills, and said $15 per credit is still too high.

“I don’t think [Prop. 92] is that effective,” Wright said. “It isn’t that much, it needs to be more.”

The lower prices, could attract more students and especially motivate lower income students to explore higher education, said Wright. This view is shared by the college’s lead administrator.

“It is very difficult for a lot of individuals to afford college especially with textbooks, which have gone up the last few years,” said the Truckee Center’s Dean Rick Rantz.

The bill decreases fees to $15, said Sierra College Trustee Bill Martin in an interview last year. The 25 percent cut in tuition costs would come by nullifying certain provisions of Proposition 98, a statewide measure approved by voters in 1988.

Those provisions tied together funding for grade schools and community colleges.

If voters approve Proposition 92 money for two-year institutions would come from California’s general fund and be based on California’s adult population, according to Communications Director Fred Glass of the California Federation of Teachers, an organization supporting the bill.

Detractors, like members of the California Teachers Association, representing more than 340,000 public school teachers and other professionals involved in education, say the provision endangers the stability of California’s grade school funding.

The break in fees could help locals aspiring for a firefighting job. Both North Tahoe and Truckee Fire Protection Districts have advertised for help recently and both require several certifications, a few of which are offered through Sierra College’s Tahoe-Truckee campus and Roseville facilities.

The districts pay for ongoing training and certification for firefighters, said Assistant Chief Peter Poe of the North Tahoe Fire Protection District. Much of that training is conducted at the local campus, including classes that are required for the school’s Associates Degree in Fire Technology. The fire districts pay full price, so, although they do not support or oppose the measure, if passed it could offer a discount to the agencies.

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