Prop 51: Is a Statewide Initiative the answer?

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Prop 51: Is a Statewide Initiative the answer?

Proposition 51 makes community colleges fight over funds.

Proposition 51 makes community colleges fight over funds.

Steven Staton

Proposition 51 makes community colleges fight over funds.

Steven Staton

Steven Staton

Proposition 51 makes community colleges fight over funds.

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Diablo Valley College has already greatly benefited from Measure E, an Educational Facilities Bond that specifically aided the Contra Costa Community College District. With a needed approval rate of 55 percent, this bond came out with a 57.6 percent approval rate in favor of the bond according to Ballotpedia.org.

This granted us a soon-to-be newly renovated art complex, welcoming complex, faculty offices, as well as sports facilities, the details of which have previously been reported by The Inquirer.

Proposition 51 now comes into play as the 2016 election grows nearer. This bond, although under the radar when compared to Prop. 64, the marijuana initiative, is just as important.

Proposition 51 would allocate $9 billion to community schools statewide. The operative word here being “statewide.” There’s no denying California is one of, if not the most, expensive state to live in and construction is known to be an expensive endeavor. So just how far could $9 billion go to benefit DVC? What portion of that would we even see?

Considering this bond takes all community schools — K through 12, and community colleges — into play, that $9 billion immediately gets dwindled down to $2 billion.

That $2 billion is then held up between the 113 community colleges of California, who then have to bid among themselves in regards to who has the most pressing, well-thought-out and needed projects.

When attempting to get to the bottom of something, one can usually rely on the old adage “follow the money,” and it’s no surprise that our own Gov. Jerry Brown stated, “I am against the developers’ $9-billion bond. It’s a blunderbuss effort that promotes sprawl and squanders money that would be far better spent in low-income communities.”

Furthermore, Ballotpedia.org highlighted that although this is the first education bond on the ballot in 10 years, it’s the first ever to be an initiative, meaning it was not brought on by the Legislature.

While at face value this bond might seem like a good idea — fix up local, community schools — it merely patches up what is a much bigger underlying issue of how poorly bond measure money is allocated in California. And at the end of the day it benefits, in this instance, big developers, taxes the common individual, and does little to help low-income communities truly in need.

It’s  also easy to forget that bonds eventually must be paid back, with interest. A $9 billion bond at 5 percent interest allocated over a 5 year period, and then paid back over 30 years, will leave the state paying $15.75 billion in interest.

So if you don’t like the idea of robbing Peter (the taxpayer)  to pay Paul (big time developers) vote no on Proposition 51.

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