By Leonard Kelley / Staff Writer
The LBCC Civic Engagement Club protested against Assembly Bill 955 on Tuesday, Sept. 24, demanding that Gov. Jerry Brown veto the bill that will offer Winter and Summer courses at an unusually high $200-per-unit price.
Club President Jessica Bracho, a sociology major, said, “We are gathering students, teachers, and community members to help us kill AB 955. It is a great disappointment this bill is now waiting to be signed into law.
We hope Gov. Brown will take our many voices in opposition to AB 955 into consideration and veto this bill.” Assembly member of the 37th District Das Williams said, “Community Colleges have been reducing class offerings due to substantial state budget cuts, hampering student access to transfer. According to a March 2013 report by the Public Policy Institute of California, the transfer rate has declined from 420,000 to 334,000.
In addition, 500,000 students were wait-listed for Fall 2012 courses. If AB 955 is approved, the administration will decide how the program would work and how to implement it.” AB 955 gives California Community Colleges options for Winter and Summer courses that otherwise may not exist. Grants and government fee waivers are built into the bill for students who qualify.
Club member Natalia Toscano said, “AB 955 is an extension program for Summer and Winter sessions at Community Colleges in California. “The cost will be $295 per unit, a $46 state enrollment fee and $19 capital outlay fee. “No financial aid will cover total expenses but may lower it to $200 per unit if the student qualifies.”
California’s Community Colleges expect 60,000 new students this year, but 600,000 students have been refused admission to 112 colleges since 2008 due to lack of space. College officials cited the success of Proposition 30, which passed with the idea that more money pays for more courses, allowing more students to enroll.