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Los Angeles Valley College is one of nine campuses in the Los Angeles Community College District, seeking voter approval in November for a $5.3-billion construction bond.

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The Los Angeles Community College District will go to the voters in November asking homeowners to levy between $88 and $157 a year – and in some cases more – so the district can borrow billions of dollars in what will be its largest program ever.

Virtual Valley: Los Angeles Valley College

College trustees, who approved a $5.3-billion bond measure 6 to 1 last month, filed papers Thursday with the Los Angeles County Recorder/County Clerk to include the bond measure on the Nov. general election. 8.

Supporters say the cash infusion is necessary to renovate aging buildings, upgrade athletic fields and outfit classrooms with new technology at the nine campuses in the district, California’s largest community college system.

“Students deserve excellent teaching and learning facilities,” said LACCD Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez at the July 6 meeting. “We know that when students are connected to campus, when they are engaged…our students do better work.”

But critics question the timing and necessity of the ballot measure. They argue that it is a waste to spend billions of dollars on infrastructure amid declining enrollment and an unstable economy.

Top 10 It Issues, 2022: The Higher Education We Deserve

At least 55% of voters must approve the measure on the November ballot for it to pass. According to the county, the bond could cost property owners up to $25 per $100,000 of assessed value over approximately 25 years.

For homeowners, the estimated annual property tax bill for the bond is likely to range from about $88 to $157, according to the county, but could be more for high-priced properties. The county did not provide an estimated valuation of the non-residential property.

Ernest Moreno, the lone trustee to vote no, said it would not be appropriate to spend money on a new building when the community college district has lost tens of thousands of students over the past few years.

Between 2019-20 and 2020-21, enrollment dropped by 220,986 students — a drop of nearly 27,000 students, according to state data. Many students also choose to continue online classes.

Director, Program And Educational Effectiveness

“This is an inappropriate time and it is basically an irresponsible act on our behalf to continue this bond,” Moreno said. “What I fear is that we are building a ghost town.”

Moreno said in a phone interview that he supported the previous bailout measures. Over the past two decades, voters have approved more than $9 billion in municipal bonds.

A 2011 investigation by the Los Angeles Times exposed financial waste, bias and mismanagement of municipal bond projects.

After the Times report, county officials vowed to keep a tight rein on public money. However, the most recent bond measure in 2016, which supported a $3.3-billion plan to renovate aging buildings, sparked lawsuits, political infighting and missed performance targets.

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Rolando Cuevas, a community activist who served as student president at East Los Angeles College in the 1990s, is concerned that the projects will benefit developers and construction companies more than students.

“There’s nothing wrong with bonds when we need them,” Cuevas said. “What they are doing here is unacceptable. The voters need to say ‘no’.”

This week, a construction company filed a lawsuit against LACCD and its project team, alleging corruption and fraud over a long-delayed theater project at Los Angeles Valley College.

The company, Pinner Construction Inc., and its subcontractors accused the LA County project team of conspiring to delay construction of the theater so contractors could accumulate more billable hours. Officials declined to comment on the case.

College Instructors Rise To Distance Learning Challenge

Steve Veres, a trustee since 2011, said the projects covered in the current proposal are targeting the right needs. The learning experience for students will be enhanced by renovating aging buildings, including health centers and student organizations, he said.

New research suggests college policies regarding unpaid balances may be contributing to declining enrollment with lasting financial damage to students.

“Sometimes the way things were designed 50 years ago are not the best and most efficient for use today,” Veres said. “We’re not adding square footage…we’re improving the spaces.”

If approved, $1.4 billion would go toward modernizing buildings built before the 1970s. Another $732 million will pay for other campus infrastructure, such as outdoor lighting, roads and parking lots. The proposal also allocates $500 million to “plan, construct, acquire or contribute” to housing for students and staff.

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Money from the bond will also fund upgrades to athletic facilities, including installing artificial turf and replacing or refurbishing hard courts. It will also expand wireless Internet access and equip classrooms with new technology, including more permanent upgrades such as repairs to aging sewer lines.

The renovations will reduce the need for patch repairs, which have already cost the district millions of dollars, according to Rueben Smith, LACCD’s vice president of facilities supervision.

“We’ve had a lot of damage and failure in infrastructure,” Smith said during the trustees’ meeting. “The breaks aren’t stopping. We’ve already spent over $40 million on repairs alone.”

The county commissioned a research firm to survey nearly 900 voters about their opinions on the bond measure. A survey conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, found that 6 out of 10 voters support the proposal.

Pdf) The Editors’ Perspectives On Adjusting Stem Education To The

The company concluded the measure has “strong initial support that crosses nearly all geographic and demographic subgroups in the district,” according to a proxy statement about the survey.

Among them is the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 11, a union representing electricians. Many of the 2,000 apprentices in the IBEW electrical training program are taking classes or have graduated in LA County, according to Antonio Sanchez, the group’s policy director.

“Many of our members are familiar with the system and have benefited from it,” said Sanchez. “They truly deserve — along with everyone else in Los Angeles — first-class facilities.”

Debbie Truong is a senior education reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Previously, she covered PK-12 education for WAMU-FM (88.5), the NPR affiliate in Washington, D.C., and the Washington Post. She attended Syracuse University and earned a master’s degree in journalism from American University. She grew up in the San Gabriel Valley. When students owe money to their colleges, they can be prevented from re-enrolling. Analysis of new data suggests that colleges’ own policies for dealing with unpaid balances may be making the situation worse. Some 2,100 students in the Los Angeles Community College District who dropped out between fall 2019 and summer 2021 owed federal aid refunds to their school, and researchers estimate more than 300,000 California community college students have collected. loan for the year from July 2020 to June 2021. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times.

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In the spring of 2021, $600 stood between Endele Wilson and his dream of earning a teaching degree at Long Beach City College.

Wilson, 47, started taking the courses in 2019, a few months before the disease struck and shortly before he lost his job as an elementary school music teacher. He held multiple jobs as a musician, and a night job as a gas stationer, to support his eight children.

When he was about 18 units away from completion, he got a bill that stopped him in his tracks. He didn’t qualify for financial aid, he said, because of low grades years ago at another community college. He was facing $600 in unpaid registration fees – and could not register for classes until he settled the balance.

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“I didn’t know what to do,” Wilson recalled. “Even with two jobs, I don’t make enough money to do anything but survive.”

“Too many students are struggling with problems that make even small loans a barrier to enrolling in community colleges.” Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Chancellor, California Community Colleges

Enrollment at California Community Colleges has dropped nearly 20% during the pandemic to 1.3 million students from fall 2019 to fall 2021, according to state data, leaving campuses worried about their future and prospective students. of the opportunities offered by higher education. Disaster-related problems have prompted many students to choose teaching jobs and online classes have become a challenge for low-income students who do not have access to digital resources.

But new research suggests college-specific policies regarding unpaid balances may also contribute to the decline by creating lasting financial damage for institutions and students.

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A report published Thursday by the Student Loan Protection Center, a nonprofit advocacy group focused on student loans, attempts to quantify the scale of the problem. Using data from three California Community College districts and student census information, researchers estimated that, from July 2020 to June 2021, about 321,000 community college students accumulated $107 million in total debt at their institution.

Researchers projected system estimates based on the percentage of students affected by the Compton, Lake Tahoe and Peralta Community College Districts. The report was jointly provided by The Hechinger

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