BC president talks Prop. 30; school may face more cuts to faculty

Patricia Rocha, Editor in Chief

A large factor in Bakersfield College’s budget future is Gov. Jerry Brown’s Sales and Income Tax Increase Initiative, known as Proposition 30.

If passed, the law titled “The Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012” would raise California’s current sales tax of 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent for the next four years.

It would also create four high-income tax brackets for taxpayers with taxable incomes above $250,000, $300,000, $500,000 and $1,000,000. This tax increase would be in place for the next seven years.

Interim president Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg discussed what might occur if the proposition does not pass and BC must decrease class sizes and sections.

“If the tax initiative doesn’t pass and if we are reduced by 800 full-time equivalent students, that would result in a reduction of full time faculty obligation number which is set by the state,” she said. “That would be where we could have a reduction of full time faculty.”

BC has already had to make budget-fueled changes to its curriculum to focus on “core” classes that are helping students succeed the most.

“We all have a mission in California community colleges,” she said. “Our mission is to serve students who are going to transfer, students who are here for technical education programs, or certificates or degrees, and students who have a need to improve their reading, writing and math skills so that they can take advantage of the first two things.

“That narrowed mission of those three things really covers everything that’s in our schedule right now.

“I cannot point to anything and say, ‘well, that’s superfluous.’ We don’t have anything superfluous. We’ve already narrowed down from 2008-09 to our current schedule, so when we talk about the new ‘core,’ the question really is, how many courses that lead to a transfer requirement are we going to be able to offer given these reduced resources?”

She said it was important for students, as well as faculty to make their voices heard in the upcoming election.

“The tax initiative coming up for a vote, everyone, not just students, will need to look at that information and make a decision based on what they believe is the best thing for California in addition to community colleges.”

In order to vote in the election on Nov. 6, one must register to vote no later than Oct. 22.