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The Madera Tribune

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Support your community colleges

May 26, 2016

Your community colleges (Madera, Oakhurst, 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. It 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 Madera and Oakhurst the bond will provide the following:

 

Madera Community College Center: 24,000 square feet for classrooms, library, labs, office, space; expands Center for Advanced Manufacturing; develops classrooms and labs for Health Science/LVN program and new facilities to provide first-year instruction for Ag Program. 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.  

 

The Madera campus has developed excellent partnerships with local K-12 districts and manufacturing companies to better prepare our future workforce.

 

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 programs, create new educational programs and offer dual enrollment opportunities.

 

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
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, medical support services and technologies, skilled mechanics, computer personnel, skilled building trades, administrative and clerical support, and technical machinery operations/repair, etc. are individuals predominately trained and educated at one of our 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.

 

Measure C has been formally endorsed by the following:


Madera City Council, Madera Board of Supervisors, Madera District Chamber of Commerce, Madera County Board of Education, Madera Compact, Madera Association of Realtors, Madera County Sheriff Jay Varney, Eastern Madera County Chamber of Commerce, and a host of other businesspersons, former elected officials and chambers of commerce throughout the district including the Fresno District Chamber of Commerce.


Citizens should also be informed that a vast majority of our police officers/deputy sheriffs, EMTs, firefighters, medical personnel (including RN, LVN, technicians, etc.), mechanicans  and skilled manufacturing labor have been educated and trained at our local community colleges. Our campuses, of course, also provide a local, less expensive option for the first two years towards a State college or UC degree.

 

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.


Ron Manfredi, Madera
Former SCCCD trustee and personnel commissioner

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