Wed07302014

Schools

Passing of propositions brings relief to Foothill and De Anza community colleges

Foothill-De Anza Community College District Chancellor Martha Kanter breathed a sigh of relief with the passage of Propositions 57 and 58. They provide budget stability and a benchmark to work from. The governor's budget proposed in January can now move forward without additional cuts.

"While this does not relieve our district's current budgetary shortfall of $12.7 million, it sets the stage for a more positive vision of long-term growth that provides an opportunity for our students," Kanter said. "Unfortunately, Foothill-De Anza is below the state average in funding per student, and we are still forced to reduce this year's budget in order to balance our revenues and expenses."

The voters' approval of Proposition 55 allows Foothill-De Anza to leverage Measure E funds when they receive an additional $17 million for renovation and new construction. The district will be able to move ahead with Foothill's $44 million lower campus Life Science and Student Services complex. A new student center that meets seismic regulations will replace the original structure.

"Proposition 55 was narrowly approved at 50.6 percent, making $920 million available for community college projects statewide," Kanter said. "As you can see, every vote counts and we will benefit greatly from this proposition."

Paul Fong, president of the board of trustees, said he was disappointed Proposition 56 did not pass, but at least the district will be out of trouble for a while.

"As we look to the future. more students will be redirected from the overcrowded challenges facing UC and CSU," said Kanter. "Since Foothill-De Anza is one of the most highly regarded districts in accommodating students who plan to transfer to a four-year university, we expect more students at our doors in the months ahead."

The district expects full enrollment for the summer quarter and increased enrollment in the fall. Silicon Valley is slowly recovering from the economic recession. To contribute to the recovery, Foothill-De Anza offers training programs that allow displaced workers to learn new skills or upgrade their skill sets to return to work as soon as possible.

Kanter told the board and staff that the district would advocate vigorously for additional funding from the state to maintain educational excellence and continue major fund-raising efforts in partnership with the community.

Had these propositions not passed, the scope of cuts needed to solve the state budget deficit could have forced the district to cut half its course offerings.

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