CCSF supporters speak out for Prop. A

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerRally: Students

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerRally: Students

If City College of San Francisco’s efforts to pass a parcel tax in November pay off, eliminated classes could be restored and campuses would remain open.

The $79-a-year parcel tax, known as Proposition A, would raise $17 million annually for eight years for the struggling institution.

Nearly 100 supporters — including politicians, students, community groups and school administrators — stood on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday to officially support the measure, urging voters to give the school the funding it desperately needs.

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The parcel tax is needed to bring secure funding back to the 90,000-student community college, CCSF board of trustees President John Rizzo said. Without it, drastic measures could be taken.

“If we don’t get it, we’re looking at closing facilities,” Rizzo said. “We have seen what the state has done to us the last three years. We cannot keep doing this to students. It’s wrong and it’s harmful.”

More than $800 million in state funding has been cut from community colleges since the 2008-09 fiscal year. For CCSF, that’s $53 million over the past three years. The situation has forced administrators to cut hundreds of classes, including 650 this semester alone. Further cuts could hurt the future of the college and San Francisco, supporters said.

“City College has given me a way to build myself in a way I didn’t know I could,” said Tim Henderson, a former student who obtained his GED through CCSF. “It gave me the opportunity to be a part of a community.”

Others took direct aim at the state while urging support for Prop. A.

“California has been letting public institutions down,” said Rafael Mandelman, a member of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and a CCSF board candidate. “This is our opportunity to step up for our schools. I am City College and so are you.”

Rizzo warned that if Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax measure, Proposition 30, also fails,  education funding could continue to be cut. Prop. 30 would temporarily increase sales taxes and income taxes to provide funding for K-12 schools and colleges.

“If this passes and the governor’s tax measure passes, we’ll be at the status quo,” Rizzo said. “But if both fail, there will be more devastating cuts.”

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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