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Governor tours S.D. City College, touts community college funding

2:29 p.m. February 23, 2006 

HOWARD LIPIN / Union-Tribune
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger talks with San Diego City College Professor of Machine Technology Jack Bollinger while visiting a computer-aided manufacturing class there Thursday.
SAN DIEGO – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger toured San Diego City College Thursday and announced his plans to give $130 million to community colleges in less affluent areas. 

The funds proposed in Schwarzenegger's budget expand on $80 million that was provided in 2004 and $30 million in 2005. It is in addition to his strategic growth plan, a proposed ballot measure that would provide a total of $3.767 billion for California Community Colleges over a 10-year period. 

“I'm a big believer in city colleges and community colleges,” Schwarzenegger told about 50 San Diego Community College District officials and news media representatives inside a classroom at the college. “I'm actually a product of a city college. It's had a tremendous effect on me.” 

His proposed budget will give several dozen community colleges, such as those in San Diego County's districts, money that they otherwise would not have received because the areas around them generate lower property tax levels than rich areas, Schwarzenegger said. 

San Diego City College is to receive $3.67 million in equalization funding, according to the governor's budget, which has yet to be approved by the legislature. 

That money is to be used in conjunction with funds allocated to the district in the past two years to offer intersession classes between the fall and spring semester. It will also help add more class sections and 100 new full-time faculty, said San Diego Community College District Chancellor Constance M. Carroll. 

Southwestern Community College District is to receive $3.2 million for more staff and also to expand such programs as nursing, dental hygiene and paramedic training, said Scott Himelstein, the governor's deputy secretary of education. 

Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District will receive $3.1 million for more classrooms and a newly constructed science building. 

Palomar and Mira Costa community colleges will also benefit from the funds, though the amounts were not specified. 

Representatives from all the districts, including trustee members and presidents, applauded Schwarzenegger's announcements and greeted him with a standing ovation while a few dozen students yelled in protest, demanding more funds for public education. 

Carroll said equalizing state funding for community colleges was something college officials have been pressing for three decades without success until now. 

The equalization funds stem from Schwarzenegger's 2004 settlement of a class-action lawsuit that had been filed against the state over the poor condition of some inner-city schools. He said Thursday that he preferred to put the money spent fighting the lawsuit back into the education system. 

His budget also contains $491.7 million for proposed bonds for the construction and renovation of schools. That money is to be used to correct seismic deficiencies, upgrade libraries and build new classrooms and laboratories. 

“Graduation just got closer for our students,” Carroll said. 

Breaking News Team: (619) 293-1010;


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