Yes on Prop. A rally urges support for City College parcel tax measure

Alex Tom leads a chant as a diverse crowd chants, "I am City College" in four languages

Those who work at, attend and support City College of San Francisco have a lot of work ahead of them. The school’s budget has been regularly slashed, losing $20 million last year alone. The school cut 700 classes this semester. After receiving notice that they faced losing accreditation, students, faculty, staff and administrators have been working tirelessly to save the school.

A rally yesterday highlighted one issue of importance to City College: Proposition A.

Prop. A would create a parcel tax of $79 per year for eight years for San Francisco tax payers. The revenue, estimated at $15 million per year, would go to City College.

Prop. A will be one of three ballot measures that increase taxes in November, including Prop 30 and Prop 38. The second two are statewide measures that also raise taxes to fund schools. 

If both Prop. A and Prop. 30 pass it would restore much of the funds cut from City College. If either measure doesn’t pass, the college would face a large deficit.

Several members of the board of supervisors, the school board, and candidates for those seats spoke in support of City College. 

As Community College Board President John Rizzo mentioned at the rally, the school has cut 700 classes this semester alone. For many of those classes, the school still offers the subject but in far fewer class sections, lengthening wait lists and making it more difficult for students to get into the classes they need to graduate.

“This does not restore all the funding, but it goes a good way forward,” said Norman Yee, president of the board of education. Yee attended City College before going on to UC Berkeley, and taught ESL classes at City College for 10 years.

“If it wasn’t for City College I would have gone down a different path,” said Yee.

Alex Tom, Executive Director of the Chinese Progressive Association, emphasized that support for Prop A should be a citywide issue. He also pointed out that supporting City College “Is a big issue for Asian Americans.”

“Most people don’t know that half of the population of City College is Asian students,” said Tom.

Students, labor, and Democratic Party members also lended their voices to support Prop A. “It’s so important and critical for students to have this resource,” said Shanell Williams, president of the Associated Students organization at City College. 

Sup. John Avalos told Guardsman reporter Joe Fitzgerald that the accreditation process is related but separate from the need to pass Prop A. 

“We need to actually fund it, and make sure it’s around,” said Avalos. “If the parcel tax fails, we’ll see a real diminishment of the effectiveness of City College, and that’s something that I think would further deteriorate its ability to get accredited.”

Video by Joe Fitzgerald

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