California Proposition 92, Funding for Community Colleges (February 2008)

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Proposition 92, the Community College Governance, Funding Stabilization, and Student Fee Reduction Act, was on the February 5, 2008 ballot in California as a combined initiated constitutional amendment and state statute, where it was defeated.

Proposition 92 would have established independent public community college districts and Boards of Governors. It would have allocated 10.46% of the Proposition 98 school funding maintenance fund towards community colleges. It would also have dropped the cost students pay per credit from $20 to $15.

The Proposition 92 campaign featured a rare face-off between the California Federation of Teachers, which supported the measure, and the California Teachers Association, which opposed it. Several of the CTA's largest affiliates broke rank with the CTA to support Proposition 92, including the Community College Association and United Teachers Los Angeles.[1]

Election results

California Proposition 92
Defeatedd No4,831,44557.3%
Yes 3,613,332 42.7%

Constitutional changes

If Proposition 92 had been approved, it would have:

Text of measure


The ballot title was:

Community Colleges. Funding. Governance. Fees. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.


Proposition 92 2008.PNG

The official summary provided to describe Proposition 92 said:

  • Establishes in state constitution a system of independent public community college districts and Board of Governors.
  • Generally, requires minimum levels of state funding for school districts and community college districts to be calculated separately, using different criteria and separately appropriated.
  • Allocates 10.46 percent of current Proposition 98 school funding maintenance factor to community colleges.
  • Sets community college fees at $15/unit per semester; limits future fee increases.
  • Provides formula for allocation by Legislature to community college districts that would not otherwise receive general fund revenues through community college apportionment.

Fiscal impact

See also: Fiscal impact statement

The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:

  • Increase in state spending on K–14 education from 2007–08 through 2009–10—averaging about $300 million per year, with unknown impacts annually thereafter.
  • Loss of student fee revenues to community colleges; potentially about $70 million annually.



The official voter guide arguments in favor of Proposition 92 were signed by:

  • William Hewitt, president, Faculty Association of California Community Colleges
  • Rebecca J. Garcia, president, California Community College Trustees
  • Dennis Smith, secretary/treasurer, California Federation of Teachers
  • Stefan Lee, student, Sacramento City College
  • Valerie Novak, student, San Joaquin Delta College
  • Samuel Aguilar III, student, College of the Desert[2]

Some of the organizations and individuals who supported Proposition 92 were:

Arguments in favor

The Yes on Prop 92 campaign made the following arguments[6]

  • By lowering credit fees to $15, it ensures that community colleges are affordable.
  • It limits the rise in future fees to the cost of living and would require a warning if fees were going to rise. In 2004, when fees were hiked, 305,000 fewer students enrolled at California’s community colleges.
  • Stable funding for California community colleges.
  • Guarantees that the community college system is independent from state politics.


$3,543,032 was contributed to the campaign in favor of a "yes" vote on Proposition 92.[7]

Donors of $100,000 or more were:

Donor Amount
California Federation of Teachers $846,912
American Federation of Teachers $335,849
Los Angeles College Faculty Guild Local 1521 $230,000
Faculty Association of California Community Colleges $200,000
Los Angeles College Guild $130,000



The official voter guide arguments opposing Proposition 92 were signed by:

Other opponents included:

Arguments against

2008 propositions
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February 5
Proposition 91Proposition 92
Proposition 93Proposition 94
Proposition 95Proposition 96
Proposition 97
June 3
Proposition 98Proposition 99
November 4
Proposition 1AProposition 2
Proposition 3Proposition 4
Proposition 5Proposition 6
Proposition 7Proposition 8
Proposition 9Proposition 10
Proposition 11Proposition 12
Local measures

Critics argued that because there is an automatic increase in the spending every year in the state having to use K-12 funds in order to compensate for the spending. Also, part of the measure requires four-fifths majority in both houses in addition to the governor's signature, in order to alter the funding for the initiative, which is argued to be too strict.[11]

Merrill Eastcott, Dean at LA City College said:

The growth funding...for the community college system is based on K-12 enrollment, not community college enrollment. Recently we have seen the K-12 enrollment decrease at the same time that community college enrollment was increasing, causing cc funding to decrease when it should have increased. The second fact missing is that the cc system has never gotten the “guaranteed” 10.79 percent (since my entrance into the system in 1999). The closest it ever got was about 10.41 percent. The difference between the guarantee and the actual has always gone to the K-12 system, hence it is understandable that the unions representing the K-12 system would fight it. What is a real kick to me is watching unions fight unions.[12]

Public policy think-tank San Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR) opposed the measure. They wrote:

"The measure is fiscally irresponsible because it not only reduces revenue to the community-college system, through a fee reduction, but also sets aside a higher portion of overall education funds to community colleges without identifying any new funding sources. This will inevitably result in cuts to other areas of education, particularly public higher education. In recent years, students at both CSU and UC systems have shouldered massive increases in fees. While community colleges are often the first step for many to enter a CSU or UC school, the pathway to higher education for one system should not place greater fiscal strain on another...Tying the hands of legislative bodies is the popular way to win victories for one’s priorities... The difference with this measure is that it does not identify a funding source for this new set-aside. We would hope that the California Community College system would rethink this measure and return with one that builds more grassroots support across the many advocates of education and economic opportunity."[13]

Governor Schwarzenegger opposed Proposition 92 because he believed the budget should be left to the California State Legislature.[14]


$2,954,524 was contributed to the campaign in favor of a "no" vote on Proposition 92.[15]

Donors of $100,000 or more were:

Donor Amount
California Teachers Association $2,291,101
California State Council of Service Employees $400,000
Service Employees Local 1000 $100,000
California Faculty Association $100,000

Editorial opinion

"Yes on 92"

  • San Francisco Bay Guardian[16]

"No on 92"

  • Contra Costa Times.[16]
  • The Monterey County Herald urged a "no" vote on Proposition 92, saying "Everybody loves California's community colleges, but locking their budget into a state funding formula is unfair to other critical programs. Proposition 92's attempt to cut student fees is a worthy goal that still should be pursued, especially fees for core academic and vocational classes."[17]
  • Oakland Tribune.[16]
  • Orange County Register[16]
  • San Diego Union-Tribune[16]
  • The San Francisco Chronicle urged a "no" vote on Proposition 92, saying that it would "layer dysfunction on top of dysfunction."[18]
  • San Jose Mercury News[16]

Path to the ballot

See also: California signature requirements

As an initiated constitutional amendment, 694,354 signatures were required to qualify Proposition 92 for the ballot.

The Cal-Access database lists two campaign committees as having registered in support of Proposition 92. One of these organizations ("Yes on 92! Students and Educators in Support") shows no expenditures of any kind. The other organization, "Yes on Proposition 92, Californians for Improving Community Colleges, a Coalition of Educators and Community College Organizations," shows one $38,000 expenditure to Arno Political Consultants for petition signature gathering.[19]

See also: California ballot initiative petition signature costs

External links

Suggest a link

Additional reading: