As voters, we face a mind-numbing list of 11 propositions Nov. 6. As a public employee, I cannot urge you to vote one way or another. As president of Chabot College, however, I can educate about the potential impacts of ballot measures on the college.

One of the most confusing ballot choices is between Proposition 30 and Proposition 38. A little information can go a long way in clarifying key issues.

While Proposition 38 would provide needed support for K-12 and preschools, it taxes people of all incomes -- working poor, middle class, wealthy -- and provides nothing for the cash-strapped community colleges and public universities.

The governor's tax initiative, Proposition 30, taxes only the wealthy and provides a balanced educational budget for public education, including community colleges and public universities.

Proposition 30 raises the sales tax by only a quarter-cent per dollar purchased for four years and increases income tax for seven years on individuals earning $250,000 a year or more.

Passage of Proposition 30 will make a huge and positive difference for Chabot College and for public schools across the state, as well as for California State University, the University of California and many other state programs and services.


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If Proposition 38 passes and gets more votes than Proposition 30, Chabot College (and public colleges in general) will suffer a massive midyear trigger cut in state funding, necessitating the loss of huge numbers of class offerings in vocational and transfer classes.

The state will suffer automatic trigger cuts, affecting all of kindergarten through 12th-grade education, community colleges, CSU, UC and public safety -- as well as the state's overall solvency.

Another important ballot measure is the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District's Measure I. It asks for a modest $28 flat tax per parcel per year for six years. It would bring more than $5 million in much-needed funding to Chabot's class offerings and programs, allowing the college to continue to be the major engine of workforce development, degree and transfer programs it has been in our community for more than half a century.

All this money would go directly into adding classes and serving students; its use is prohibited for administrative salaries.

If Proposition 30 and Measure I fail, Chabot College will be forced to close almost 100 of the classes in the spring schedule of class offerings. This will affect the future of current students, new students and the health of our community.

Students already in training programs for good jobs that currently await them will have little or no recourse, as will those who are near completion of classes they need to transfer to Cal State or UC.

Where will those high school graduates go this fall whose families cannot afford private college tuition, or who need to work to support themselves while in community college?

Add to this the class cuts that will negatively affect our returning vets and those in training programs for displaced workers, both vital areas of service and training at Chabot.

The state budget crisis has touched the lives of thousands of people in our communities. Further trigger cuts will be a disaster for students and others hoping to improve their lives and to forge a brighter future for their families.

I encourage voters to research all the propositions carefully, and contact me with questions about Proposition 30 or Measure I and their impact on Chabot College.

Dr. Susan Sperling is president of Chabot College. Contact her at 510-723-6641 or ssperling@chabotcollege.edu.