Las Positas College needs more revenue to meet student needs | October 5, 2012 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - October 5, 2012

Las Positas College needs more revenue to meet student needs

Las Positas College, the Tri-Valley's award-winning community college, is a shining star among California universities and state colleges that accept hundreds of its graduates each year, but there could be trouble ahead.

Kevin Walther, a doctorate-degreed administrator who became president of the school last year, told the Rotary Club of Pleasanton last week that enrollment, which peaked at 10,045 students just two years ago, has now dropped to 8,760 because of shrinking state funding. Course offerings also have been trimmed, from 927 courses offered in 2009 to 793 today. The "fill rate," which determines how many can be in a classroom, is already at 95% with some teachers volunteering to take on more students than they are contractually obligated to handle. Since 2010, cuts in state funding have cost LPC about 5,500 seats per semester and more than 13,300 seats for the 2011-2012 school year.

Through the Measure B bond measure, LPC received enough funds to build facilities and upgrade infrastructure to meet rising enrollment. This included a new state-of-the-art science complex nearing completion, a student services building and special campus pathways to ease the burden of students with physical disabilities. Measure B funds also allowed the college to install solar panels that now generate more than half of the electricity needed to power the campus. This has not only reduced the college's carbon footprint, but it also has saved millions of dollars that are being used to serve students.

But Sacramento, not school administrators, determines how many students can attend the state's community college system, and that number is shrinking across California. The Las Positas College Foundation has helped and other fundraising efforts, including LPC's joint venture with the city of Livermore to sponsor an Independence Day picnic and fireworks show on the campus, provide needed financial help. But it's the millions of dollars in state aid that keep LPC and other community colleges afloat and those funds are withering.

Walther said that LPC's budget will stay about the same in 2013 if Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30 tax measure is approved on Nov. 6. Without those additional funds, LPC will likely be faced with a $5.2 million mid-year budget cut. The LPC/Chabot College board of trustees has also placed Measure I on the Nov. 6 ballot, which is a $28 per parcel tax that would provide $5.6 million per year to both LPC and Chabot. Measure I requires a two-thirds vote to pass; Measure 30 can pass with a simple majority vote.

Walther is urging voters to approve both Prop. 30 and Measure I.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 5, 2012 at 12:54 pm

prop 30 "Allocates temporary tax revenues 89% to K–12 schools and 11% to community colleges. "

Web Link

Not a significant percentage. And it might solve a problem for a year or two, then what? Until they address the problem of unfunded liabilities, no revenue will be enough.

And they need to cut admin costs. If you have ever been to LP, you would see countless number of people and a lot just sit there, with no real duties. Keep the teaching staff, get rid of so many employees, and stop paying such big salaries to the president and staff.

No on prop 30

Posted by Milo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 5, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I have to agree with "Resident". ADMINISTRATION COSTS are the main problem at all levels of education. For some reason the career track in teaching is to make it to the front office where on the job retirement is a dream come true. Sit down, start with the student's needs, then red pencil everything above that does not pertain to education. It wouldn't take more than 20 minutes to get the school back on track.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Oct 5, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Spot on!

Top-heavy administration bleeds off resources and does not increase organizational effectiveness or QOL.


Posted by Bill, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 5, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Just look at Evergreen Community College where the Chancellor, Rosa Perez, was making in excess of $300,000 a year. Hired her "friend" for $123,000 as an executive assistant. The two of them spent a good portion of 2011 traveling around the world on junkets paid by the college foundation. They spent over $353,000 dollars on these "educational experiences" while the foundation could only afford $88,000 in student scholarships.

Over 20% of the college workforce is administrative. There is a lot of fat to cut.

Posted by Jason, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Prop 30 isn't the only tax increase proposal for Community Colleges. Prop I will levy a parcel tax for six years specifically for Chabot and Las Positas. Note that if Prop 30 and Prop B1 both pass our sales tax will increase to 10.25%.

Posted by Patrick Lofft, a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Oct 5, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Workers Lack Skills to fill Many Jobs, front page, The Independent, October 4, 2012
As Election Day approaches, I write to urge readers to vote YES for Chabot – Las Positas Community College District Measure I to provide funds to restore course offerings that have been reduced by nearly 15%. Chabot and Las Positas Colleges serve as a safety net for students who otherwise could not afford college. An education at Chabot College and Las Positas College are the best buys in higher education today. Compare Chabot or Las Positas’ annual fees ($1,380 a year) with the California State University system ($7,017*), the University of California system ($13,877*), and the private colleges ($24,000 and up). *includes campus based fees.
No funds from Measure I can be used for administrator’s salaries.
Measure I would levy a flat twenty-eight dollars ($28.00) on each parcel within the District annually for a period of six (6) years.
Measure I will NOT increase sales taxes.
Measure I will restore the number of classes and lab offerings, reducing the time it takes to obtain a career certificate or classes needed to transfer to a four-year university. Measure I will provide $5.6 million dollars annually which will enable Chabot College and Las Positas College to use some band-aides to get through the 2012-13 budget year and start to fill the holes for the 2013-14 budget year. If both Measure I and the Governor’s Budget (Prop 30) pass then the colleges will be able to build back some of the reductions made over the past three years.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2012 at 6:18 am

"No funds from Measure I can be used for administrator’s salaries. "

Indirectly, funds will be used for admin costs.

They take money from students (they cut sections, reduce number of classes) in order to use the money for ADMIN, then they cry about it, appeal to the community and if the prop passes, use that money to bring back the classes/sections they cut. But the sections/classes would not have been cut in the first place if they had CUT ADMIN first. Sorry, but I am not playing any more games.

No on prop 30, NO on prop 38 and NO on all propositions that raise taxes to "fund education" - trim costs first, deal with unfunded liabilities, then let's talk about additional revenue

Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 6, 2012 at 9:54 am

The Independent article is one-sided. It doesn't inform readers about the debate and complexities surrounding the so-called skills gap and instead presents a common claim made by businesses.

Here's a good balance to the Independent article: Web Link

"the concept of the skills mismatch neatly serves many ideological masters. ... Since the problem is hazily defined, people with vastly different agendas are able to get in on the conversation--and the solution. ... Those on the right get to talk about taking personal responsibility for upgrading one's skills, while those on the left get to emphasize how we must do a better job with education, that great pathway to an egalitarian society. ... individual-level skill doesn't exist in a vacuum. Many employment structures -- from pay scales to hiring practices -- sit outside of the control of workers, yet nonetheless help determine whether they get hired."

And here is what is meant by how individual skills don't exist in a vacuum: Web Link

"roughly 10% of employers admit that the problem is really that the candidates they want won’t accept the positions at the wage level being offered"

"only 15% of employers who say they see a skill shortage say that the issue is a lack of candidate knowledge ... Employers are not looking to hire entry-level applicants right out of school. They want experienced candidates who can contribute immediately with no training or start-up time.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2012 at 3:01 pm

and the CSU system is wasting money too:

Web Link

421K salary?