Cuesta College may ask taxpayers to fund building upgrades

December 2, 2013

The Cuesta College Board of Trustees is considering asking taxpayers to fund $180 million of new construction and building repair. [Tribune]

cueata collegeCuesta’s North County campus needs four new buildings at a cost of $80 million and the San Luis Obispo campus requires $100 million in repairs and upgrades to aging buildings, college officials say.

“We can’t exist in those much longer,” Cuesta President Gil Stork said. “The modular buildings, as they get older, will need continual upgrading and improvements and this is just money down the drain.”

On Wednesday, the Board of Trustees will discuss the results of a survey conducted to gauge public support of a possible bond measure to pay for the building upgrades. The board will decide next year how it plans to fund the construction.

The four new buildings Cuesta officials have proposed constructing on the North County campus are a student services center, a trades and technology center, a building with classrooms and an early childhood development center.


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Vote NO on the Cuesta bond! The college just can’t responsibly or professionally handle taxpayer money.

Their problems abound! High administrator, part-time faculty and classified staff turn over. Token race-based hiring practices (Euro Caucasians have the wrong skin color). Several under-performing programs. Some excessively tax-subsidized programs with NO accountability. Low student enrollment. Poor reputation among students. A campus culture of personal bias and prejudice that many direct toward each other. A history of lawsuits against the college and admin. Etc.

Don’t waste taxpayer money! NO on the Cuesta Bond!

No, I still do not want to support you locally. My sales tax has gone up, my health has gone up, my taxes have gone up, my car registration fees are about to go up, my utilities are going up, my food costs are going up, gas cost have gone up, the Federal government is looking to impose a new transportation tax on us, yesterday the County imposed new fees for their services, SLO local schools is going to be looking for new bonds/taxes, and everyday in Sacramento they are pondering more ways to get our money. I am done. NO NO and NO… Do fund raisers, stop building performing arts center, Taj Maj administration buildings, generate a better use of the facilities and manage your resources like a business and not a government handout. Yes, I am done. NO NO and NO more…

I would be happy to give money to Cuesta College if the got out of there ridiculous 18 semester system, they have a lousy college schedule, it’s too long, Cal Poly is quarters, brings more money into San Luis Obispo as people get done with school faster; like a lot faster. Four quarters in one year but not Cuesta, you can only take two full quarters, that’s it. Their summer program is ridiculous also, only 6 weeks, and one class if you can pass it because Cuesta is tough teaching, people drop out in high numbers and that is an example of Cuesta’s money problems. They need to get into a quarter system and get 4 quarters a year. Who wants to attend 18 weeks? That’s way too long. Fix the system to quarters.

If you look up local media reports you will see that Cal Poly is looking to moving off quarter to Semester. I am not implying either is better but they are saying they are moving away from quarter….Just thought you might want to check it out.

I suspect there’s not a single community college in CA that’s on the quarter system.

I suspect you can count on one hand the number of 4 year schools in CA on the quarter system.

No question CP would make the change to semesters if it was not so disruptive and costly.

.Though I believe there are three CCC’s on quarter in California, their model has not proven to be effective (these three may not agree with me though!). If I remember correctly these were Lake Tahoe, Foothill and DeAnza. Your statement of contact hours is correct that quarters are not faster nor easier. The better word I guess is that the student is actually more time compressed. I know of Districts that have reviewed quarters for many years and still have not made the move. As with CP, the trend now seems to move further away from quarter for the best of the student and operational needs.

My reason to post is that Leatherpink is aware that this idea has been reviewed and tried in a few CCC’s and not deemed the best model by any majority. It is not an untried method.

Cuesta needs to get honest, and stop asking local taxpayers to provide their building funds.

This is no longer local “community” college — it’s part of the state community college system, its students come from all over, and most aren’t local. I has two main functions: as a state-wide feeder-school for Cal Poly, and as a place to surf away four years of “community college.” It makes no sense to stick local taxpayers with the bill when that’s what the college is.

Your posting is likely the most honest for this entire thread. Thanks.

It would be absolutely fascinating to study the % of students who attend Cuesta that have lived in the county for 3 or more years versus say Hancock or Hartnell Community Colleges.

Your logic would normally make sense if that was that was the way Community Colleges were funded, its not. There is no ”State” funding system separate from the basic funding that all Districts get. Community Colleges by nature are feeder schools to local UC/CSU, Cuesta is no exception. Your argument about local funding not being appropriate is rebuffed by 95% of the communities in the State who have passed local bonds (in many cases multiple) to keep the revenues coming into their community that their Community College generates. Nearly all of these are feeder schools and in a lot of cases with similar demographics. This is a fact as easily verifiable. San Luis Obispo needs to decide if they want to keep up with the balance of the State or continue to be the embarrassment of the system by not funding their “Community College”. As to your surfing comment….Santa Barbara City 2+ Bond measures, San Mateo 3 Bonds…the latest 350 Million, San Diego City College $1.6 Billion in local bond measures the list goes on and on….

I seriously doubt there are that many community colleges in CA that draw so many students from outside their respective counties. Do you really think CCs like Hancock and Hartnell draw as many people from out of their respective counties as Cuesta does?

Absolutely no way.

How about CCs in metro areas like Los Angeles? I suspect the percentage of those attending CCs in LA County are almost entirely LA County residents. Not so when it comes to Cuesta.

I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “keep up with the balance of the State”? Given CA’s overall condition it sounds like doing so might not be such a great idea.

Your specific campuses, Hancock, Hartnell and Metro LA are good examples of those who do not draw outside students, agree. With that then lets discuss Santa Barbara City, San Diego City, Mesa CC, SFO City CC, Marin CC, Napa CC, Berkley CC, the list goes on and on of CC’s that attract students for either transfer or climate. Your “absolute no way” is unfounded and easy to prove otherwise. Go to any of the websites of the Districts I have listed and check their demographics. You don’t need to take my word for it, they are required to report these numbers. You will see what I mean.

When you want to compare metro colleges match then up to a large UC/CSU and check their demo’s. Try Long Beach and see what you get. Then, as far as migrating students how about Foothill De Anza or Foothill College that some say is Stanford’s back door. We may think that Cuesta/Cal Poly is where everyone wants to go but this is not the case. Unfortunately one huge difference between the Districts listed and Cuesta is that they all have local bond measures. Many passed in the last two years, when Cali was at its worst budget wise. As a District, Cuesta is no different than a large number of the States Districts and with that needs the same funding considerations. Period.

On a final note…discuss transferring student to locals with houses for rent, restaurants that serve on Thursdays at Farmers Market, the vendors at Avila in the Summer, Albertsons on Foothill, Firestone Grill or Upper Crust Pizza the staff at Med-Stop. See what they have to say about how much funding these student bring to our Community. Just a thought.

Btw…been local for 35 years. Proud of SLO, Cal Poly and Cuesta. Keeping Cuesta strong keeps our Community strong.

Bring quarters to Cuesta, dump the 18 week semesters, it’s too long to get an education there. Cal Poly is quicker and better to go to school than Cuesta

No. Quarter units do not equate to semester units. It’s all about HOURS which will be same whether you get them in semester or quarter measures.

Cal Poly is not open for 4 quarters/year. 3 quarters plus an abbreviated summer session.

CP actually considered going to TRIMESTERS at one point where it would be going full bore all year.

CP is not “quicker.”

So taxpayers in SLO County should pay more taxes than those living in other counties because a state institution (Cal Poly) and/or weather is drawing out of the area students to their local community colleges?

Once again, absolutely no way.

It sounds to me like something is broken (at least for some taxpayers) and increasing the load on local residents by floating new bond measures is not the answer. You’re trying to infer that’s the only answer and to that I say “bunkum.”

Perhaps the state needs to work with local gov’t on a real solution? The state could require individuals who have not been local residents for say 3 years to pay a per unit surcharge. Cuesta would still be cheaper than state and private universities and the students would always have the option of attending a CC in their “home” counties.

As far as out of the area students using Foothill and DeAnza as a backdoor to Stanford is laughable. Stanford has about 1/3 the undergrad students as CP with an even tighter selection criteria. Same with CCs like Marin, Napa, etc. You really think out of the area students are flocking to these areas? I certainly don’t…

There is a fundamental problem that is not best masked by floating bonds.

Your statement of “more than other counties”…how more? Nearly all counties with CCC pay for local bonds (even beach city schools). I also seriously doubt you will find any legislator who would agree that they need to do anything at the State level for 3 out of 112 campuses without bonds ( I had my numbers corrected yesterday). I would assume they will say its a local problem.

Please provide us with the data that out of city students are a drain on a community and community college instead of a benefit. Please take in account housing rental of out of city vs local student, the fact that Cal poly requires first year student to live in their dorms not in town (in which they pocket the proceeds including increased food sales). Also the fact that their is a minimum cost to run any facility and that a larger capacity class costs marginally more (if any depending on the size) than a smaller class. Also that these out of city student are counted in the base apportionment to Cuesta at the same rate. This might help me see how you can say out of city student are an issue. Most modeling I have seen does not support this statement. I look forward to your data. Thanks in advance.

I already pay, through property taxes, to support Cuesta. The size of the physical plant and the class offerings should be in direct proportion to the college’s funding base plus fees per unit. Since SLO county tax payers contribute to Cuesta, any funds needed should be on a proportionate basis vis-a-vis local students and those whose residences are not SLO County. I cannot understand the logic for local taxpayers paying for the maintenance of a facility used by so many who are not burdened by a local bond tax measure. If funding in addition to that curretnly received by property taxes and student fees is required then legislative measures should be enacted to have community colleges funded in a manner which reflects what they are … state, not local, educatonal institutions.

. Please look up funding for Community Colleges at the State level and you will see that your suggestions, though makes lots of common sense, is not how they are funded. A portion of all State resident property tax goes to the State and then appropriated to all community colleges based on enrollment. Not sense prop 13 have CC’s directly had access to local taxes nor able to control the levels. Cuesta has not had a local bond measure since the early ‘70s so you will need to let me know what local tax that is specifically going to Cuesta you are referring to.

Cuesta is required to accept any student that applies and is qualified buy using State mandated levels (Look up CCC open access regulations). They cannot turn non-local students away nor can they charge them more. If you look up desirable locations or good transfer Districts this is very common and considered desirable for the local economies. The passed bonds in nearly all of these Districts are proof.

I am not arguing that the State should not pay to maintain their CC’s. I am just letting you know that they don’t. With that in consideration and the fact that the balance of CC’s are in Communities that see the benefit of these students to their economies and fund them, the State has zero reason to start matching their obligations. As a matter of fact they are continuing to reduce their funding annually.

If 82 out of 86 Community College Districts (including Santa Barbara, SFO, San Diego all with heavy out of city students) understand that these Districts are good for their community and pass supporting bonds, some Districts with multiple bonds, why do you think SLO is the exception?

Very well said.

You hit the nail on the head — legislative measures should be taken rather than simply floating more bonds on the backs of local taxpayers to support out of county students.

Prop 13 took the control of apportionment from the local communities and put it in the hands of the State. The numbers have not tapped out since that point. So communities benefitted some did not.

Most Plants developed before Prop 13 were calculated on just your math and suggestion, they also saw steady support from their community. Cuesta received a bond in the 70’s to build a lot of their plant (prior to Prop 13).

Today with base apportionments the CCC’s are dependent on enrollments to make up some of the shortfall that they would generate from controlling their own tax rates. They can’t make it all up and depend on the State to help. This help has gone away. Thus the mass majority of Districts (recognizing the economic benefit to their community) are pitching in.

To operate a facility 12 hours a day instead of 8 is marginally more expensive. The start up is there, the support staff, the facility itself. A 25 student class and a 35 student class has the same faculty costs (generally speaking). Energy costs are minimal compared to say a roof that sees sunlight 365 days/24hour. Same with power and water systems that are perpetually in operation. With that, increased enrollment within the same operational day by fee paying students (no matter their origin) will actually allow more base apportionment to a district at a much less cost. Thus more student/less cost to tax payers.

No matter the physical size of the District, their enrollment, their demographics, their environment, 109 of 112 CCC’s are being supported locally. I am not trying to say this makes the system right, just stating the fact.