Politics

SF will have to decide to help City College or not

Thursday, November 01, 2012

This Election Day, San Francisco voters will be asked to approve a property tax to help fund the financially struggling City College. ABC7 News takes a look at the push to pass Proposition "A" and why it's facing some skepticism.

On the steps of the City College science building, teachers and staff staged a rally, in the form of an old-fashioned teach-in.

City College department chair Carmen Lamha asked the crowd, "City College has lost blank dollars. Who knows the answer to that?" and someone responded "$53 million."

Most of that $53 million was due to state budget cuts and students have felt the impact.

"When I went to register for classes and noticed most of the classes that I need to take I can't take because they're either filled or you know, they're non-existent anymore," said City College student Eric S.

The cuts have reached the culinary program, where local restaurateurs stepped in with donations. Now, plans are afoot to close two satellite campuses.

"There'll be a lot of cut classes and a lot of part timers who'll lose their jobs," said City College department chair Carmen Lamha.

That's why many out here support Prop A -- a $79-a-year parcel tax that backers say would bring the college $14 million over the next eight years.

"That's going to really help us in the crisis of the budget that we have," said Xiomara Martinez, a Mission Campus student council president.

But Prop A is not without controversy. There are critics who point to City College's history of mismanaging its money and say the last thing taxpayers should do is fork over even more.

"City College is fiscally mismanaged. And that isn't just coming from us, that's coming from the accreditation committee that reviewed City College," said Starchild, a Libertarian Party activist.

Starchild wrote the rebuttal against Prop A in the voter handbook. Teachers won't argue with him about past mistakes.

"We've had problems managing the college, but a lot of things are in place that have addressed that," said Lamha.

They say teachers have agreed to take a pay cut and they're not filling vacant jobs.

"They try to make it look like they're getting their house in order, but as long as the taxpayers keep rewarding them with extra money, they don't really have an incentive to change," said Starchild.

Teachers will have to convince two-thirds of San Francisco voters they've cut all they can.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
san francisco city college, taxes, voting, politics, jonathan bloom
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