From the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum in San Diego, leaders from southern California community colleges on Wednesday made a simple point: Shrinking state funding is curbing their ability to serve returning military veterans eager to continue their higher education.
More than 20,000 veterans, active military and their dependents joined leaders from nine community colleges in San Diego and Imperial counties to urge state lawmakers to pay attention to the issue, which will grow more dire as more veterans return from tours of the Middle East over the next several months.
With four years of state budget cuts, college leaders said the results of the November election will determine whether they will be forced to make even sharper cutbacks in classes that will delay the progress of veterans and other students trying to complete their education.
“We’re very proud to shine the light on the role of community colleges in the county to serve veterans,” Cindy Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, said at a news conference hosted by the San Diego and Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association (SDICCCA). “But we are dealing with ever-dwindling resources.”
$30M at stake
At the press conference aboard the historic battleship, Southwestern College student veteran Vincent Avila-Walker asked how Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax measure on the Nov. 6 ballot, will affect community colleges and their ability to serve veterans. Without passage of Prop 30, SDICCCA colleges will face midyear budget cuts of more than $30 million and 10,000 students won’t be able to take the classes they need. <Read more.>