Friday, November 27, 2020

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Letter to the Editor: Measure C gives voters a voice in the future of Yuba Community College District

Established in 1927, the Yuba Community College District serves over 13,000 students. Yuba CCD is the single largest provider of job training in the region, with courses in nursing, advanced manufacturing, culinary arts, veterinary technology, law enforcement, and firefighting, to name but a few. Moreover, with tuition at the UC and CSU colleges now up to six times the tuition at community colleges, local community campuses offer an affordable path to a college education.

Critical to this vibrant educational system is a network of colleges and campuses spread out over the eight counties we serve. But, in order to maintain their excellence and relevancy, these campuses need modernization. Some buildings are over 60 years old.

That’s why the District’s Board of Trustees decided to place Measure C on the March 2020 ballot. Measure C will authorize $228.4 million of improvements over the next 10 to 15 years. The funding will come from the issuance of a general obligation bond repaid by District taxpayers at a rate of less than 2.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. By law, these funds can be used only for improvements at our college campuses and are strictly prohibited from being spent for salaries or pensions. All funds must be used for local projects; they cannot be taken by the State or spent elsewhere. 

Over the past 50-plus years, Yuba CCD voters have only approved one general obligation bond – not four, as some have written. This was Measure J, approved in 2006. A portion of Measure J was reauthorized by voters in 2016 to secure significant taxpayer savings. The Yuba CCD Board has issued that bond in installments to keep interest rates low.

The funds from 2006 Measure J – supplemented by nearly $50 million in state matching funds – have modernized aging campuses, benefiting current students and extending their services for generations more. The tax dollars have stayed local, going to local contractors and businesses. 

But Measure J only provided funds for about half of the overall facilities needs of Yuba CCD’s five campuses. Measure C will address the remaining classroom and campus modernization needs.

Past generations established Yuba CCD. It has served hundreds of thousands of residents for more than nine decades. In March, Measure C will give today’s voters their chance to decide the future of their community colleges.

Douglas Houston, Ed.D.

Chancellor

Yuba Community College District

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