Governor Gavin Newsom yet to honor Prop 51

Clovis Community College President Lori Bennett speaking about Prop 51 at the Clovis City Council on May 20, 2019.

In January of 2019, California governor Gavin Newsom unveiled his “California for All” budget proposal, yet many in the state are feeling left out, including Clovis Community College.

After the passage of Proposition 51, the Public School Facility Bond in 2016, CCC has waited two and a half years for $26 million to be allocated as part of a $2 billion bond for community colleges across California.

The Clovis City Council recently sent a letter to the office of the governor in hopes to get his attention.

Newsom’s omission in January, and again in the May revise, continues to exacerbate the issue plaguing CCC: enrollment, and it is blowing up. With help from the 2016 Local State Center Community College District bond “Measure C,” CCC has $70 million aimed towards its goal of a Career Technical Education building and Career Technical Education short-term training programs to help expand the community college.

But, without the $26 million that was applied for in a competitive process, which included approving projects through the state chancellor’s office, CCC still finds its hands tied.

“We’ve spent the last three years developing curriculum and building Career Technical Education/short-term training programs to support our local community,” Director of Marketing & Communications Stephanie Babb said. “We need the governor to release these funds to support our local bond funds to expand our campus and to support our community. We can’t move forward on the building until we receive the $26 million.”

As the class sizes grow, so does the curriculum, but without the funding it’s hard to keep up the progress.

“It’s essential because here at Clovis Community College, we have already outgrown all of our space. We’ve exceeded our original 10-year master plan growth estimate,” Babb said. “We’ve had 61 percent growth of students from 2012 to 2019 and, currently, we’re serving over 12,000 students annually.”

At CCC’s inaugural commencement back in 2016, they awarded 405 degrees and in 2019, more than 1700.

Luckily for CCC, they have a chance to get the money from Prop 51 if Newsom adds it to his budget in June. CCC President Dr. Lori Bennett and others went in front of the Clovis City Council earlier this week to shine a light on the issue.

“After hearing the information, they did vote to submit a letter to the governor to urge him to include that 26 million in state funding into the budget before it is signed in June,” Babb said.

Members, including Jim Patterson, Patricia Bates and Rudy Salas, were a part of the 10 signatures on the letter.

While CCC is moving in the right direction to get the full funding from the statewide proposition, the state’s sluggish response to the proposition funding has created a backlog of other programs in a similar position.

Attached to the letter sent to the Newsom’s office shows 60 different cases, including a technology building remodel in Butte or an instructional building replacement in Compton, being forgotten, squandering a chance to promote jobs and help build an educated workforce within the community.

To make the issue worse, the state has abandoned its facilities program that allocates resources based on a formula identifying high-need projects.   

Newsom’s “California for All” budget might be intended to benefit the people of California, but if their votes aren’t honored, who does it really serve?

Read the letter here: Budget-Request_CommunityCollege_Prop51_04.09.2019

Nugesse Ghebrendrias
For the past three years, Nugesse has been a vital part of the Madera Tribune covering sports, news, entertainment and feature writing. Nugesse’s ability to interact with the community allows him to promote students, athletes and community members with fairness and objectivity. We are happy to have Nugesse join our team here at the Clovis Roundup.