City College is an indispensable, much-beloved institution, and taxpayers have time and time again been very generous. San Francisco already pays for Free City. Last year, CCSF received $45 million in local taxes, and in 2020 voters approved Prop A, granting $435 million for facilities. It is critical, going forward, to be fiscally responsible and strategic, in the best interest of students.
Facts you need to know about Measure O:
It was authored by AFT 2121 and does not reflect a consensus opinion regarding the priorities and direction of the college.
It is not transparent about the fact that CCSF has been experiencing declining enrollment. Measure O locks the city into giving CCSF $45 million per year irrespective of declining enrollment, which would total $90 million a year in local taxes.
The four areas cited to be supported — basic skills, workforce development, wraparound services, equity and social justice — already exist and are funded. If each area gets another $11 million a year, staffing will have to double, triple, quadruple to scale up. This is a ploy to rehire faculty who were laid off and to reinstate the status quo, an irresponsibly managed institution.
More you need to know about Measure O:
• Reflects a failed philosophy that the college has tried before: build it and they will come. CCSF tried this under Chancellor Mark Rocha as part of the “March to 32,000” campaign to increase enrollment. It failed, plunging CCSF into debt.
• Throws good money after bad. This measure asks voters to be complicit in allowing the college to continue supporting programs that do not meet student needs.
• Is not needed, because CCSF is not underfunded; it is poorly managed. CCSF is governed by the state and funded largely by the state. Currently, all community college districts are funded under “hold harmless,” meaning that they are funded for a much higher level of enrollment.
• Puts a burden on tiny San Francisco that is better borne by the state. California currently has a $97 billion surplus. Extra funding for CCSF should come from the state, not taxpayers who are struggling to pay their mortgage or rent.
• Is out of touch with reality. Last year, CCSF received $45 million from local taxes: parcel, sales, free city. That is more in local taxes than any other community college district in CA, even including the basic aid districts. Prop O demands that taxpayers double this amount.
• Is not fiscally responsible. According to the controller’s analysis, “the cost…would increase the cost of government by approximately $6 million on a one-time basis and $3 million on an ongoing, annual basis…”
• Requires the expenditure of an additional $45 million per year irrespective of enrollment, so if enrollment continues to decline or stagnates, taxpayers are locked into paying for 20 years, regardless of need. All California community colleges are currently declining. CCSF has been declining since 2008. This is not a pandemic problem and cannot be solved by simply adding more classes. The demand is not there.
• Rewards fiscal negligence and a failure to get a handle on the budget. Prop O does not encourage learning and improving after the last decade of fiscal mismanagement. Instead, taxpayers pay for the irresponsibility and allow CCSF to continue using public money inefficiently and ineffectively. Taxpayers will pay for continued mismanagement until the next demand for a parcel tax to clean up the next mess.
• Is not student driven and harms students by allowing drastically under-enrolled classes to continue draining the budget, ensuring other programs are not funded.
We are determined to stabilize CCSF and set it on a path to solvency, so that generations may benefit from this wonderful gem. Measure O does the opposite.
Vote No on Measure O!
Marie Hurabiell and Jill Yee
Marie Hurabiell is a candidate for the Community College Board, with 20+ years of leadership experience at complex institutions, including 9 years on the University Board of Regents; Jill Yee is a candidate for the Community College Board, with over 40 years experience at CCSF as faculty, department chair and academic dean.