Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
May 25th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Assemblymember Bill Monning

bill_MonningLast month, the University of California’s Board of Regents passed a 32 percent student fee increase for undergraduates, leading to statewide protests including several at UC Santa Cruz. What do you think of the increase? What does this mean for the future of higher public education in California?

I have great concerns about the decision by the UC Board of Regents to increase student fees, especially on top of the fee increases that have already been imposed. As one of the intentions stated in the original Master Plan for Higher Education adopted in 1960, a priority was to have higher education remain accessible and affordable for all.  While it is somewhat understandable why the Board of Regents implemented these sizeable increases during this unprecedented budget crisis, these fee increases represent a shortsighted solution that will most likely result in enormous unintended consequences.

There are two significant outcomes to the fee increases that concern me the most. First, as the state moves toward economic recovery, it is essential that there be a well-trained and educated workforce positioned to fill the labor needs of a new economy. By creating financial roadblocks for many students, the state will guarantee the diminishment of the skilled workforce necessary to assist in the state’s economic recovery. Second, California has made progress in the last decade to promote diversity among all of its higher educational institutions.  Proposed fee increases threaten to place diversity gains at risk by diluting the multi-cultural contributions that benefit all UC students and communities.

California is spending more than 6 percent of its annual budget on bond payments, and estimates indicate it could be more than 10 percent by 2014. What problems will the state’s debt create for California and its communities in coming years?

The state’s debt-service ratio, the portion of the state’s General Fund revenues dedicated to paying for the state’s debt service, is rising rapidly. In the past, state officials have tried to keep the debt-service ratio at approximately 5 percent of the state’s annual budget. However, in 2006 California voters approved a large number of General Obligation bonds that the state is now beginning to sell. The non-partisan Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) estimates that the debt-service ratio will obligate almost 9 percent of General Fund revenues by the end of the 2014-15-budget year.

Bond payments are a funding priority of the General Fund and, given that the LAO projects California’s economic recovery in the 2014-15 fiscal year, we will have to dedicate more revenues to paying off the state’s debt-service and fewer revenues to supporting crucial state programs. This is one of the main reasons I opposed the $11.14 billion Water Bond that was approved by the legislature and signed by the governor in November. If the Water Bond is passed by voters in November 2010, it will add additional debt service to California’s budget while the legislature will simultaneously be forced to make more severe cuts to programs that help children, working families, and senior citizens.

The Obama administration recently released the final application requirements for states to apply for the $4.35 billion in competitive grants available under the Race to the Top program. Is California prepared to apply for these grants?

The goal of the Race to the Top (RTTT) Program is to improve K-12 education in the U.S. by providing competitive grants to encourage innovation and reform.  The deadline for the submission of applications is Jan. 19, 2010.

In order to be eligible for the competitive grants, it was necessary for California to make changes to existing education law. Over the past few weeks, the Assembly Education Committee conducted a collaborative process to hear from teachers, parents, business leaders, and social justice groups about the most effective ways to pursue these changes.

The result of this process was Assembly Bill (AB) 5X 8, authored by Assemblymember Brownley, which not only puts California in the best possible position to be competitive for RTTT grants, but also enacts reforms that are good for California’s students and teachers. This legislation will allocate 80 percent of any RTTT funding for local purposes, while allowing only 20 percent  to be kept at the state level.

AB 5X 8 also prioritizes RTTT funds for professional development in low-performing schools and requires direct intervention to turn around failing schools.  These reforms not only bolster California’s application for RTTT funds but will also improve the education received by students throughout our state, and it is for this reason that I supported AB 5X 8 when it came before me on the Assembly Floor.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival