Voters to face college parcel tax in November

Foothill-De Anza seeking $69-per-parcel tax to make up for deeper state cuts

Area voters will face another parcel tax on their ballot this November, this time to provide funds for the hard-pressed Foothill-De Anza Community College District -- caught between increasing enrollment and state funding cutbacks.

The district is seeking approval of an annual $69-per-parcel tax that would last for six years. College trustees voted Monday to place the measure on the Nov. 2 ballot.

The tax would provide an estimated $7 million a year to make up in part for more than $20 million in state funding cuts over the past two years, the district said.

The measure requires a two-thirds voter approval in the college district, which serves more than 45,000 students from Palo Alto, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Stanford, Sunnyvale and portions of San Jose.

Despite increased enrollment, Foothill and De Anza have had to cut course offerings and eliminate hundreds of full- and part-time faculty and staff positions in the past two years, according to district officials.

"Local community colleges are more important than ever," said Bruce Swenson, a Palo Alto resident who chairs the Foothill-De Anza Board of Trustees.

"The University of California and California State University systems are raising tuition and turning away more students, making Foothill and De Anza the only affordable options for many local students, including workers who need retraining."

Board Vice Chair Pearl Cheng said the community colleges play a vital role in the community's economy as well as in people's lives.

"Local employers tell us that they rely on our graduates -- whether it's the nurses, paramedics and other health-care professionals who staff hospitals and clinics in the region, or students with strong backgrounds in math, science and engineering that local high-tech companies need," Cheng said.

District Chancellor Linda Thor said the measure would provide "stable funding that the state can't take away.

"It will allow Foothill and De Anza colleges to give our students the education and job training they'll need to compete in the toughest job market we've seen in decades."

Funds would be used for core academics, increasing the number of classes and labs, preparing students for timely transfer to four-year colleges, and keeping libraries open, the district said.

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Like this comment
Posted by caryblair
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 3, 2010 at 9:04 am

You guys should stop complaining cuz one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed give it a try u guys are too hard on democrats they went to college and we voted for most of these if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. as for obama people are just tryin to make it look like america made a mistake he has done things to help us and we had a full 8 years of a terrible president and i will be so as happy as ever when a obama fixes bush's mistakes. You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price from Web Link obama has to put up with the wo0rld judging his every move and trying to fix the mess we are in we are lucky anyone wants to be our president. STOP COMPLAINING AND GIVE HIM A BREAK. i wanna see one of yall do what he sas done. some people are just so ignorant.

Like this comment
Posted by Andre B
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 3, 2010 at 9:24 am

Why are we paying to finance Foothill, when all they have is an extension campus in our city where they pay little to no rent at all. We have to pay for their financial misguidance?

Like this comment
Posted by Thomas
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 3, 2010 at 9:26 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

Like this comment
Posted by James Hoosac
a resident of another community
on Aug 3, 2010 at 11:11 am

Library Tax. School District Tax. BART Tax. VTA Tax. Foothill College Tax. School/Library/Whatever Renovation Tax...

This is Death By A Thousand Cuts.

Like this comment
Posted by Super
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 3, 2010 at 12:23 pm

How about having the students pay more in fees? I voted against the library tax and now I will vote against this. When will it stop?

Like this comment
Posted by James Hoosac
a resident of another community
on Aug 3, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I will not be surprised when the Mid Peninsula HSR Corridor Tax is added to every home owner of Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton, to help finance the High Speed Rail trenching through the towns.

Like this comment
Posted by Grandma
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 3, 2010 at 4:43 pm

If its a parcel tax to pay for tuition, State law requires Foothill to offer senior citizens an "Opt out". If it passes I will definitely be applying for my parcel tax "opt out".

Like this comment
Posted by youngParentYes OldNOgetOUT
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 4, 2010 at 6:49 am

The old people complaining again. this problem with age will never go away. We young parents vote yes for everything in every subject because we know that will increase the overall quality of life in Palo alto, and the OLD folks alway vote NO, but they lose. I hope they sell they low tax (proposition 13) house and get out of Palo Alto, and let more young parents live here.

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Posted by Tax Savings
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 4, 2010 at 11:50 pm

Don't count on the old people moving and selling out; it pays us to hang onto our property and hand it off to our children who will continue to get Prop 13 savings well after we've gone!!! In my case my sons plan to rent my house out and still get Prop 13 savings.

A neighbor of mine just died but she was smart enough to put her house in her children's names when she bought it 25 years ago!!!

Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 5, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Foothill and DeAnza related question - is tuition really only $17 per unit? Isn't that about $50 per class? Other states charge 120-350 per unit.

Simple - just raise the price to a normal amount that the rest of the country charges.

Like this comment
Posted by Student
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2010 at 5:08 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff].

Like this comment
Posted by elemteach
a resident of Los Altos
on Oct 8, 2010 at 8:28 am

Even though I am an elementary school teacher for the public schools and I have taken classes at Foothill College, I can not support this parcel tax. I am in the classroom 35 hours a week with my students. Community college professors are in the classroom with their students 15 hours a week. Foothill sends their faculty each year to a fully paid 3-day retreat at some nice location like Monterey's Asilomar. Foothill also buys their faculty lunch once a week. Since when does this happen in the elementary school? Doesn't seem like the college is lacking for money.

When I was at Foothill, I could look into the classrooms. Halfway through the quarter, most of the classrooms were at most half full. That doesn't seem to me that there is a lot of demand for classes. And, I looked into some of the math and science classes. The students in the math classes were listening to iPods in the back of the classroom and the teacher was OK with this. Are you OK with a tax subsidizing this?

There are also "ghost" classes available where a student can sign up for a course, get units for the course, but there is never any instruction for this course. These classes are available so that a student can maintain full-time student status. This is what a parcel tax would support.

Shouldn't you be a little outraged at this point? As an educator, I know I am and to expect to continue this game and feast off the taxpayers is a shame!

Like this comment
Posted by Foothillmember
a resident of another community
on Oct 11, 2010 at 8:13 pm

I would like to respond to the ElemTeacher's comments. I am disappointed that there were many false statements that you made in your statement regarding Foothill faculty. You did not state the office hours that we hold, the online classes that we teach, the class overloads that we teach, the many meetings that we attend from accreditation to curriculum, the many letters of recommendations that we write for our students, all the hours of preparation that we do outside of class, the responsibility of writing our program review and curriculum updates, etc....By the way, I have no idea where I get this free lunch being provided to Foothill faculty. I know that elementary school teachers work very hard, and I always do my best to support our local elementary schools (I have 3 elementary school-aged children). So please do not point the finger at your fellow educators. As I see it, we are all in the same boat. We all have suffered from severe state budget cuts and we are all doing our best to serve our students. Rather than fight, let's support each other.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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