Prop. 30 & 38

Students and educators still await the fate of Proposition 30, currently standing at 53.3 percent as of early Wednesday morning.Last week Santa Monica College President Chui L. Tsang sent an e-mail to SMC faculty, staff and students urging them to participate in the 2012 election, and emphasized the importance of Proposition 30 to SMC. On Tuesday he walked through the cafeteria greeting students and discussing the day’s election. At the time, Tsang was still hopeful that the college would not have to take the steps necessary in the event that Prop. 30 failed. Member of the Board of Trustees, Louise Jaffe, described her feelings towards the ballot initiatives as “cautiously optimistic.” She was hopeful that the voter registration efforts at SMC in the past weeks would be enough to sway the vote in favor of Prop. 30. She admitted, however, that if Prop. 30 does not pass, “there’s no good plan B; there are no good options.” Jaffe said voters need to step up and vote. “It is a democracy. We do have the right to vote—people have to make decisions, but we have to pay for our priorities,” she said. “If you want good education, you have to pay for it. It isn’t free. I believe that should be a public responsibility.” SMC has used its reserves to keep classes running in the recession, however with the reserves running low, the college cannot continue to fund additional classes. “The state needs more funding, that it can then distribute and prioritize for higher education,” said Jaffe. “We’ve maintained a lot of capacity, we haven’t laid off any full time employees so we’re ready, we just need the funding to have the classes.” Another controversy surrounding Prop. 30 has been the competing proposition, 38. Prop. 38, which would have raised state income taxes on those making as little as $7,300 per year, would have supported K-12 and pre-schools, but not community colleges. “I think it’s so fascinating, and ironic, and tragic that the Parent Teacher Association, which I have been extremely involved in, supported Prop. 38. If Prop. 30 fails, for State PTA to have been a factor in bringing down Prop. 30 and causing the loss of $6 billion in funds this year is just really mind boggling,” Jaffe said. Students showed their opinion of Prop. 30 in a campus art project resembling a graveyard, which went up on Monday, less than 24 hours before polls opened. Taynara Costa Moura, an international student from Brazil and one of Tsang’s student ambassadors, organized the demonstration in order to persuade eligible voters to vote in favor of Prop. 30. Moura’s goal was to get 100 pro-Prop. 30 votes to offset her inability to cast a ballot. Even if Prop. 30 passes, many administrators, including Jaffe, have said that it will only prevent further cuts, but will not repair the damage. “We’re on a cliff and the ground keeps eroding underneath our feet,” Jaffe said. “We get to step back from the cliff.” “It’s like we’ve been in free fall. Every year we take another big cut and we’re falling in big drops from ledge to ledge. In my view I feel like if it passes, we’d stop the free fall. We’re not up to where we need to be—we don’t restore stuff but we stop the falling,” said Jaffe.