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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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The big budget gamble

Uploaded: Jun 26, 2012
The budget machinations in Sacramento apparently will wind up this week with Legislative Democrats and Gov. Brown making a huge bet on voters approving the governor's tax increase on the November ballot to close a yawning budget gap.
Budgeting for agencies dependent upon state revenues—school districts—had to include considerations of worst case scenarios.
One place the Sacramento budget shortfalls keeps hammering is the state's once proud higher education system. Tuition and fees at the University of California and the Cal State systems have skyrocketed over the last five years.
Fees at the community college level have risen more slowly, but overall funding has been cut resulting in fewer classes being offered so fewer students can be accommodated at a time when demand is soaring.
Consider the Dougherty Valley campus of Diablo Valley College, which opened in 2006. In that year, it served 7,914 students. During the just completed year, a total of 6,764 students were enrolled. The demand was the same or greater, but the resources to offer classes had been substantially cut. With gasoline prices soaring, the San Ramon campus has been a greater alternative for San Ramon Valley students when compared to trekking up to the main campus in Pleasant Hill.
The campus is designed to handle about 5,000 students each semester. The highest attendance was about 3,700 students.
The Dougherty Valley campus, built in cooperation with the developers and the city of San Ramon, relocated the San Ramon site from a building in core San Ramon that was shared with the University of San Francisco.
USF and Las Positas are the other higher education providers on the move.
USF moved out of the San Ramon high education facility to an office building on the periphery of Stoneridge Mall at 6120 Stoneridge Mall Road in the Stoneridge Corporate Plaza—a five-building complex. The new facility has six classrooms, a library, a computer center as well as a multi-purpose room and student lounge. The facility will allow working adults to pursue additional higher education.
Meanwhile, Las Positas College has located a new center in Dublin that also will house the district offices. Moving some classes west for Las Positas positions it to more effectively serve students living along the I-680 corridor who otherwise would have to go east to the main campus in northwest Livermore. During the morning commute, that's an easy ride—not so for a working person trying to make a night class starting at 6 p.m.
And, like the new USF facility, it is within easy walking distance of the West Dublin/Stoneridge Mall BART station.
Whether private institution such as USF or publicly funded like Las Positas and Diablo Valley, location makes a difference.
I will have more thoughts on higher education on Thursday.

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