U-T editorial disappoints college district officials

Julie Gillespie

By JULIE GILLESPIE
City Times

In a recent editorial in The San Diego Union-Tribune regarding Proposition N, which will be on the November ballot, the editors stated their strong opposition to the proposed bond.

“It’s too much, too soon. Voters should reject (the bond),” the article said.

This has baffled and disappointed San Diego Community College District officials.

Prop. N will provide the San Diego Community College District with the funding to continue the projects that have been started already and to go forward on those projects that have been proposed.

Though the Union Tribune agrees there is “no question, most district facilities do need repair, renovation or upgrades,” they argue that four years ago the district asked for money with Proposition S giving the same reasons for needing Prop. N now.
Prop. S gave the school district $685 million in bonds. This “was an important first step,” for the $2.5 billion dollar master plan to help nine campuses rebuild as well as expand facilities on the campuses, according to Chancellor Constance M. Carroll.

Even with voter approval, the proposed bond “will take us only to about two-thirds of the way to this conclusion when added to the money generated from Prop. S,” said Terrence J. Burgess, President of San Diego City College.

Chancellor Carroll wrote a letter to the editor dated October 2nd saying, “Investing in our colleges now is a smart investment. It will be less expensive to upgrade and repair aging community college buildings and classrooms now than in the future…if we don’t take action now, the problems will only get worse.”

“The college and district leadership, including our Chancellor and Board of Trustees, firmly believe that our students deserve clean, safe, attractive, and functional facilities for instruction and student support services,” Burgess said.
Prop. S and Prop. N are meant to improve campus life and learning with an estimated hike in enrollment of 25 percent in a span of the next ten years.

The bond will not raise property taxes, however, according to the editorial from the Union Tribune it will “prolong higher annual tax payments by property owners to fund projects more suited to a wish list than essentials.”

“(District members) believe that a first-class education deserves a first-class college, with facilities to match the high caliber of our faculty,” said Burgess.

(Feature editor Maria DeLorenzo contributed to this report)