Senator Runner Introduces Community College Bill Package
Senator George Runner (R-Antelope Valley) has introduced a community college bill package that will provide more access to students and eliminate bureaucratic barriers for community college to acquire much-needed classroom and facility space. “California’s community colleges are vital to our educational system and we must ensure that students have better access to courses and community colleges are given all the tools necessary to acquire adequate classrooms and facilities,” said Senator George Runner (R-Antelope Valley). Senate Bill 1303 will eliminate the five percent concurrent enrollment cap for high school students to take community college courses in the summer. Currently, there is a five percent concurrent enrollment cap that keeps high school students from accessing community college classes during the summer and furthering their education. Dr. Dianne Van Hook, Superintendent-President, College of the Canyons, “This legislation is particularly timely, given the Governor’s $30 million budget proposal to fund increased collaboration between high schools and community colleges on vocational and work force training initiatives. Eliminating the cap on the number of high school students who can enroll in community college summer sessions will enable us to better address the Governor’s priorities.” Patricia A. Spencer, Ph.D., Superintendent/President, Victor Valley College, “Courses that advance a student in their academic and/or vocational studies do not vary in quality or purpose when offered in the summer. The standards and learning outcomes remain constant regardless of the time of year the course is offered. Therefore, it makes no sense to restrict the number of students who can take college-level academic or vocational courses during a summer session. In fact, it makes more sense to allow greater participation rates during the summer when high school students are not attending high school classes.” Senate Bill 1304 allows community colleges to use capital outlay state funds to acquire existing government-owned or privately owned property for much-needed facilities. This legislation will cut costs and provide more tools by allowing community college districts to meet their facilities needs without construction. Dr. Jackie L. Fisher Sr., Superintendent/President, Antelope Valley College, “This is a common sense approach toward meeting the facilities needs for community colleges. California’s community colleges have been recognized for their ability to respond quickly to community needs, but have sometimes been hampered by the ability to find adequate lab and classroom space.
This challenge has been evident in our fast-growing district. This legislation will give us more flexibility to use existing buildings that meet appropriate safety standards. Ultimately, it is a recognition of a college’s contribution to a growing community.” Dr. Dianne Van Hook, Superintendent-President, College of the Canyons, “Escalating materials costs have hampered California’s community colleges in their efforts to build new facilities to better serve students. The situation is compounded by the lengthy three-step approval process required through the Division of the State Architect. Senator Runner’s legislation will give us the flexibility we need to more quickly and more efficiently bring online new facilities for workforce training and education.” Patricia A. Spencer, Ph.D., Superintendent/President, Victor Valley College, “It only makes good business sense to allow California community colleges to acquire existing government-owned or privately-owned buildings for conversion to community college use if student needs are served at less expense to the taxpayers.” SB 1303 is sponsored by College of the Canyons and SB 1304 is sponsored by the California Community Colleges. SB 1303 and SB 1304 will be heard in Senate Education Committee in April.