Your community colleges (Oakhurst, Madera, Fresno City, Reedley College and Clovis CC) are community institutions of higher education administered by a locally elected Board of Trustees responsible to the citizens of the State Center Community College District (SCCCD). The District serves approximately 50,000 students annually and is the largest institution of higher learning in central California.
A $485 million Bond Measure (Measure C) is on the ballot for consideration June 7. This Bond Measure will fund major capital improvements targeted for each SCCCD campus. The bond will also improve all SCCCD campuses, upgrading campus buildings with up-to-date technology, ADA accessibility, instructional equipment, and improve classrooms, labs and equipment for career/vocational education programs.
More specifically in Oakhurst and Madera, the bond will provide the following:
* Oakhurst Community College Center - New College Site Acquisition. This includes necessary infrastructure development and Phase I construction of classrooms and labs. The current Oakhurst Community College Center has no room for expansion. A new campus facility would provide room to expand existing services, create new educational programs and offer dual enrollment opportunities. This new campus site would provide permanent structures replacing the current modular classroom units.
The Oakhurst Campus has become an integral part of the community. A new permanent campus site will further enhance educational and work preparation opportunities in Eastern Madera County.
* Madera Community College Center - 24,000 sq. ft. for classrooms, library, labs, office space; expands Center for Advanced Manufacturing; develops classrooms & labs for health science/nursing program and new facilities to provide first-year instruction for ag programs. In addition, a facility to house tutorial, distance learning and a student computer training center is needed. The Center for Advanced Manufacturing would expand to provide laboratory and classroom space for existing and new vocational training programs. Those programs include welding, manufacturing and machinist certificates and degrees and a new agricultural pathways program.
Community colleges and the education, certifications and degrees provided at our colleges constitute one of the most important economic development tools available to grow and assist our communities to prosper. Equally important, they provide, at an affordable price, career training and/or the opportunity to transfer to four-year institutions. Local services provided by our police officers, firefighters, nurses, support medical services and technologies, skilled mechanics, computer personnel, skilled building trades, administrative and clerical support, and technical machinery operations/repair are through individuals predominately trained and educated at one of our above referenced community colleges.
In addition, our community colleges provide a local and less expensive alternative for the first two years of classes required for a four-year State College or University degree. Measure C provides accountability. Funds are legally limited to expenditure for new capital improvements and major renovations for facilities at these campuses. Financial audits are required and a Citizens Oversight Committee will be appointed to monitor expenses and projects.
On June 7 you will have the opportunity to renew your support of continuing education in our community. A “Yes Vote on Measure C” is a vote for our future and a vote for continued local control.
NOTE: Ron Manfredi is a former SCCCD trustee and personnel commissioner.