At a Cuesta College Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday night, the board voted unanimously to place a $275 million local education bond measure on the Nov. 4, 2014, ballot for voters’ consideration. The amount would equate to a tax rate of approximately $19.45 per $100,000 assessed property value.
For the past few months, Cuesta College has been gathering feedback from the community regarding college needs and challenges. At the July 29 meeting, the board members were presented with and reviewed the results of a recent phone survey conducted of local registered voters and also heard various public comments from college staff and community members. The board members agreed that the amount of $275 million addresses the needs of the college while also being mindful of the impact of voters.
“We are committed to providing quality, affordable higher education and job training,” said Cuesta College Superintendent/President Dr. Gil Stork. “However, repairs and upgrades are needed to support vital educational programs, including college transfer courses and career technical education that will meet industry and educational standards of today.”
Cuesta College provides essential job training and career education in automotive technology, nursing, paramedic/9-1-1 emergency medical training, agriculture trades, early childhood education, law enforcement, welding, construction, engineering, technology and architecture, among others.
“With the cost of attending universities continuing to increase, more and more local students and their families are relying on local community colleges like Cuesta College,” Stork said. “Additional funds will help ensure that our facilities meet all safety and energy efficiency standards and that local students continue to have opportunities to earn college credits, required certifications, and essential job skills at a reasonable price.”
Cuesta College is also where many of the area’s 9-1-1 emergency first-responders are educated.
“Cuesta College plays a crucial role in keeping our communities healthy and safe by training and educating our area’s paramedics, nurses, emergency medical responders and other healthcare professionals,” Stork said. “If approved, this measure will provide vital funds that will enable Cuesta College to continue playing a central role in our community.”
The proposed measure requires strict fiscal accountability including independent annual financial audits and an independent citizens’ oversight committee to monitor use of funds.