PAC members stress importance of voting to protect the future of education
Elections are right around the corner and a number of faculty members have taken an active role in influencing students and community members to vote yes on Proposition 30 in the November election.
The California Teachers Association (CTA) at Solano Community College has formed a Political Action Committee (PAC) and on Oct. 3, members of the committee met to discuss their activity in the community and how individuals can get involved.
School counselor Nicholas Cittadino touched upon the differences between Proposition 30 and 38, differences that news editor John Glidden wrote about in the Oct. 3 issue of The Tempest.
“The money there (Proposition 38) as I understand it only goes to K through 12,” Cittadino said. “It doesn’t touch the community colleges. Prop 30 does. If it doesn’t go through there’s going to be huge budget cuts coming up for community colleges.”
“It’s a spiral down that is tough to climb out of,” said Professor Marc Pandone. “We need to communicate to not only students, but the community, the importance of this tax measure to raise funds for education as well as other social services.”
“(Proposition) 38 only goes to schools. (Proposition) 30 does go to teachers, firemen, policemen, other social services as well as schools. That’s why it has a much broader coalition of support,” Pandone said.
A flyer has been going around campus with one side written on why to vote no on Proposition 32 and yes on Proposition 30. The flyer was given to The Tempest at the meeting and Pandone spoke about a key note on the flyer, California’s low position of 47 out of 50 states in per-pupil funding.
“The de-funding of public education has been pushing students into private for-profit schools,” Pandone said. “California is 47 right now I think, we’re just above Arizona in regards to funding. It’s a travesty. There’s still extraordinary fine education, teaching going on at this campus regardless of that.”
“The community college system in the state of California is the largest educational institution in the world,” said Diana Lisi, a regional staff consultant for the CTA. “They’ve also changed the name from junior college to community college because it represents the community that it resides in and it’s considered the backbone of middle America.”
“If 30 is defeated UC, CSU tuition is definitely going up,” Pandone said. “(Community colleges) will be pressured to do the same. You can guarantee that they will be looking for ways to generate funds. The premise of you guys being here is to move out to CSU, UC, and you need to know those fees have gone up drastically for everyone who has gone before you and will go up again if 30 is not passed. That is guaranteed. So it’s a huge measure. This PAC is dedicating itself to get that measure passed.”
“ASSC (student government) wrote a resolution of support and approved it today in support of Prop 30, said PAC member Charlene Ott, a student representative at the college. “We need more people with better education so that issues like this in the future, there will be better communication, maybe we won’t even need props because we’ll have better people managing the money.”
While the current educational system may seem like more of a hassle than it’s worth, the PAC members offered words of encouragement to students and why it’s important to stay in school. Professor Robert Daprato spoke about a student he knew at Solano and how far she has come since her time here.
“In the RN (registered nursing) program here, before she graduated, she walked up to me and showed me a job offer from the California state department of prisons for $98,000 with her degree from this school,” Daprato said. “She’s not alone, there’s a lot of others that are like this. They’re there because they know they get a quality education from professors, not from TAs (teacher’s assistants), not from someone who’s learning.”
“There are jobs out there that require a higher level of technical expertise,” said Gene Thomas, a professor and faculty union representative at Solano.
“It never gets cheaper,” Pandone said. “Waiting doesn’t help, necessarily. I think students have some work to do to be more informed. They can’t be tourists in this process. Education is as cheap as it’s going to get right now and now is the time to do it.”