By SCOTT LANDHEER
The fate of Proposition N, the $870 million bond measure for improvements in the district, will be decided Nov. 7 when voters take to the polls in San Diego County.
Chancellor Constance M. Carroll is hopeful the measure will pass.
“Proposition N will provide significant improvements to benefit the students of City College and throughout the district,” said Carroll. “This bond measure is a no-nonsense measure that focuses entirely upon the instructional needs of our students who deserve the best facilities and equipment we can provide for their education.”
A poll taken by the campaign for Prop. N in September showed 60 percent were in favor, 14 percent were opposed and 26 percent were undecided, according to Barry Garron, Director of Public Information and Government Relations for the district.
The bond needs to be approved by 55 percent of voters to pass.
Aside from the need to upgrade aging buildings, Prop. N was also developed to meet the needs of a growing student body. Within the next 10 years, the district expects enrollment to increase from 100,000 to 125,000.
Supporters of the bond measure include the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, San Diego city council members Scott Peters, Toni Atkins and Ben Hueso, Congresswoman Susan Davis, Congressman Bob Filner and California state senators Denise Ducheny and Christine Kehoe.
Opponents include the San Diego Libertarian Party, San Diego Tax Fighters and The San Diego Union-Tribune.
The San Diego Union-Tribune and www.signonsandiego.com recently presented a debate between Richard Rider, chairman of the San Diego Tax Fighters board and Andy Berg, board member for the San Diego County Taxpayers Association.
“This is insane,” said Rider. “The people who get the benefit the most from the community colleges are the students. They should be the ones who are paying at least their fair share to cover these expenses.”
Rider also said that the number for future enrollment that the district is estimating is not accurate so these larger buildings are not going to be necessary.
Berg countered by saying that the new buildings are not only being built to support increased enrollment but are being built to tap into the state’s new growth funds. He said the state is out of modernization funds, so in order to get matching dollars from the state, the district must build new buildings instead of modernizing existing ones.
Berg said many buildings are too old to support the technology that is required in today’s world.
“If we’re going to educate the public the way they need to be educated when they come to these schools, we need new buildings,” Berg said.
Berg also said that charging students the amount of money included in this bond is not going to happen.
The Union-Tribune supported Proposition S, the $685 million bond that was passed four years ago, but has recently published an editorial saying Prop. N. should be rejected by voters for being “too much, too soon.”
Proposition S added about $25 in taxes per $100,000 of assessed value for business or commercial property.
Proposition N would not increase the amount paid by taxpayers yearly, but would extend the tax increase made by Prop. S for an additional 13 years.