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The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

Fee hike likely, $40 per unit proposed

(Photo by Courtney Johnson/The Inquirer, 2010)

Amid student protests over fee increases and budget cuts, the California Legislative Analyst’s Office has recommended increasing community college fees to $40 per unit, a hike of nearly 100 percent over one year ago.

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, a Democrat whose district includes DVC, said the recommendation would not go to the Legislature for a vote until after May or June of 2010. First, he said, it must be reviewed by a budget sub-committee he chairs.

“We’ve got a $15 billion problem for 2011-12 to remedy,” DeSaulinier said in a telephone interview.

DeSaulnier is personally invested in Diablo Valley College.

“Both my sons went to DVC,” DeSaulnier said. “[The] K-12, community college, CSU and UC systems are to be protected more than anyone else is the way I feel.”

Deborah Dahl-Shanks, DVC’s representative to the Faculty Association of Community Colleges, also said she strongly opposes any fee increase.

“Community colleges are fueling the country’s economic recovery,” Dahl-Shanks said. “Would you rather be paying for unemployment, food stamps and welfare, or classes for students so they can get off the entitlement rolls?”

Rep. Nancy Skinner (D), DVC’s other representative in the Legislature, did not respond to requests for an interview.

Proposition 98, approved by voters in 1988, mandates at least 39 percent of the state’s general fund go to K-14 education. This includes the community college system, local public schools, state mental health facilities and the youth rehabilitation system.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has argued that this “pilot spending” program makes balancing the budget a difficult task and proposed its suspension.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office’s  recommendations emphasize the growing reliance of the state education system on student fees to secure its funding.

The proposed fee increase to $40 per unit would add $150 million to the community college system, if approved by the Legislature, according to the report.

“We’ve [Democrats] collectively said that education is the most important thing [for us] to protect,” DeSaulnier said. “Now let’s see if we live up to our word.”


Contact Christopher C. Long at [email protected]

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Christopher C. Long, Staff member
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Fee hike likely, $40 per unit proposed