October 2013 Newsletter
SAVING $1 MILLION FOR SANTA CLARA COUNTY
With the passage of my legislation, SB 347, Santa Clara County taxpayers will now keep $1 million that was destined to be paid to the state. The bill was signed this month by Governor Brown.
Those savings can be re-invested in services for run-away and homeless youth to keep them safe.
The origin of SB 347 stretches back to 1990 when the county received a $1 million grant through Proposition 86 bonds to construct the Children's Shelter in Campbell. Voters approved $500 million for bonds in 1988 to help counties build youth facilities and jails. But after Santa Clara County instituted a new range of Out-of-Home Placement strategies that placed children in family settings, the average number of children and their duration of stay at the Children's Shelter campus steadily dropped to the point where the shelter was no longer required.
The county eventually sold the shelter property. However, the county was required under the Proposition 86 grant to return the $1 million to the state upon the sale of the shelter. The Governor's signing of SB 347 lifts that requirement, enabling the county to keep the money for investment in other local youth shelters.
The bill was sponsored by Santa Clara County and supported by the Housing Trust of Santa Clara, the California Alliance of Child and Family Services, the Bill Wilson Center, California Coalition for Youth, California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies, California Youth Empowerment Network, Housing California, and Mental Health America of California.
COMMUNITY COLLEGE ACCESS
I believe that our colleges must treat students equally. Every student who qualifies for our community colleges and universities deserves the same treatment when it comes to getting the classes they need for graduation.
But what if our public college system established a two-tier system that gave preferential treatment for class registration to students solely based on their ability to pay more for a given class?
Hard to believe, but that's exactly what a bill signed by the Governor will do.
Assembly Bill 955 authorizes a pilot program at six community colleges around the state to experiment with charging out-of-state tuition during summer and winter sessions, raising the cost of a unit to almost $200 compared with the existing standard of $46. The rationale for the increase is based on alleviating overcrowding and raising more money to fund classroom instruction.
I voted against the bill because I agree with Community College Chancellor Brice Harris assessment of AB 955: It is bad public policy.
At its core, I believe AB 955 violates California's Master Plan for community colleges. It links access to classes based on the ability to pay. I view this as a dangerous step toward relegating students of modest means to the back of the graduation line. It clearly divides students based on their wealth to say nothing of the audacity of charging a California student hundreds of dollars more in out-of-state tuition.
An education is our society's great equalizer. With dedication, persistence and hard work, students from low- or middle- income families can earn a college degree, improve his or her career options, and land a better-paying job.
The statistics bear this out: Adults with a college degree earn on average 85 percent more than adults who only have a high school diploma, according to a U.S. Bureau of the Census report last year.
Let's maintain our community colleges for one of the basics reasons they were established: To provide students with a low-cost higher education alternative than attending a more expensive college for four years.
COMMUNITY COLLEGE SCORECARDS
This year, California community colleges launched the Student Success Scorecard to provide a clear look at the performance of our 112 community college campuses.
The Scorecard was designed to help students choose the school right for them, and to push the colleges to improve. Its data measures completion rates, retention of students and job-training success.
Information for each college, as well as statewide averages, is available via a portal on the Community College Chancellor's website, and individual campuses will have their own scorecard and a link to other colleges on their websites.
VETS JOB FAIR
A Job and Resource Fair, primarily geared toward veterans, is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 30, 9 a.m. to1 p.m., at the San Jose Airport Garden Hotel, 1740 N. First St., San Jose. Learn about job opportunities; meet and interview with employers; resume critique services offered; obtain benefits, training, and career information. Come dressed for success and bring your resume!
Non-veteran job seekers are also welcome.
For more information, call Veterans Representatives Scott Handlon, 408.369.3672, or Derek Frazier, 408.369.3650.
The fair is the result of a partnership the California Employment Development Department, California Community Colleges, California Department of Veterans Affairs, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, Department of Industrial Relations-Apprenticeship Standards, work2future, County of Santa Clara, Santa Clara and Gavilan EACs, CONNECT Center, and various federal, state, local and private organizations.
PINK LICENSE PLATES - FIGHTING CANCER
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Breast. Nearly 200,000 California women are living with the disease, and today a woman has a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer during her lifetime.
To fight this disease, I am co-authoring Assembly Bill 49 to create a Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Specialized License Plate. Revenue from the specialized plate will fund breast cancer awareness programs and breast cancer screenings for low-income women.
To learn more, click here.