Let’s face it, many of us take our community colleges for granted. But for thousands of students throughout Los Altos, the Peninsula and the South Bay, Foothill and De Anza are launching pads for careers that will set them up for life. For others, they are new beginnings leading to encore careers. And for still others, they are economic and viable alternatives to attending expensive four-year universities. Furthermore, Foothill and De Anza are among the best in the state at what they do.
For these reasons and more, we encourage “yes” votes on two Foothill-De Anza funding measures on the March 3 ballot. Measure G is an $898 million bond that would cost property owners roughly 1.6 cents per $100 of assessed value. The measure, which requires 55% approval to pass, would fund construction of and updates to facilities. Measure H is a $48 parcel tax levied for five years that would raise $5.6 million annually for personnel and programs. It needs a two-thirds vote to pass.
On the surface, measures G and H sound like big asks. But the needs are greater than ever. Preparing students for the ever-changing tech industry requires upgrades and expansion of STEM centers. And don’t forget, De Anza is more than 50 years old, Foothill more than 60. Facilities naturally deteriorate. Campuswide roof repairs and replacements don’t sound exciting, but they’re necessary.
The parcel tax addresses needs that educators didn’t have to worry about decades ago: lack of housing, student hunger, mental health issues. Funding is crucial to help students and employees alike with housing assistance in collaboration with foundations and nonprofit groups. Mental health and counseling services are in need of expansion. More services are needed to address student hunger and homelessness. And more funding is needed to attract and retain a high-quality faculty as the community college district competes in one of the world’s most expensive areas.
Critics of such bond and parcel tax measures for local schools often have cited a lack of specificity. But Foothill-De Anza officials, in their proposals, have been specific about where funds will be directed. See for yourself at fhda.edu/MeasuresGandH. Then go vote “yes” on these much-needed initiatives.