Home Financial Record Record bond measures, higher education policy on state ballots

Record bond measures, higher education policy on state ballots


Arizona voters will decide next month whether to allow the state’s undocumented students to receive in-state tuition – one of three statewide measures on the ballot of November related to higher education.

The measurement of the poll, known as Proposition 308, is the result of years of grassroots organizing and supported by a broad coalition of business groups, politicians and immigration advocacy organizations. Arizona is one of 28 states that does not guarantee in-state tuition for undocumented students, although students who graduate from an Arizona high school and have lived in the state for three years are eligible for a separate tuition rate of 150%. the state rate. Undocumented students, including recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, are also not eligible for state financial aid in Arizona.

Proposition 308 would partially reverse a 2006 decision by voters to limit public benefits, including in-state tuition, to documented immigrants only.

Supporters say opening up in-state tuition and financial aid to undocumented students would remove barriers and strengthen the state’s workforce, the Arizona Mirror reported. About 2,000 Arizona high school graduates are undocumented each year, according to the Higher Education Immigration Portal, which tracks a series of data points related to DACA and undocumented students and other international students for inform policy makers and advocate for expanded access to higher education.

“For Arizona’s undocumented student population, this would be a huge step forward for their access to college opportunities,” said Tom Harnisch, vice president of government relations for the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. “Colleges would certainly have access to more students, and they would be better able to meet the state’s workforce needs and better address equity gaps in the state. So there are a variety of ramifications on this ballot measure.

At the national level, there are 140 statewide ballot metrics in addition to hundreds of local issues that voters will weigh in on, but only a few would directly affect higher education. In addition to Arizona’s proposal, New Mexico wants voters to approve $207 million in general obligation bonds that would pay for 28 projects at 15 institutions. In the third measure, the University of Rhode Island wants voters to approve $100 million in bonds that would improve its Narragansett Bay campus. Voters in New Mexico and Rhode Island have already approved similar bond measures.

Harnisch said Arizona’s Proposition 308 is “the flagship ballot measure for higher education this year.”

Early polls show broad support for Proposition 308, The Arizona Republic reportedbut Harnisch said midterm election trends could present a challenge for supporters, given that turnout is typically lower and less diverse than presidential elections.

“We want them to work in Arizona, instead of going elsewhere. So obviously we want to keep the talent here. And these are kids who may have moved to the United States or Arizona when they were very young and had no control over it and attended high school here and graduated from high school,” said State Senator Sean Bowie. Told the Republic. “They are like other children. And we want to make sure those kids stay here.

Bowie, a Democrat, co-sponsored the legislation for the referendum.

Arizona State Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita, a Republican, wrote in a Republic column that Proposition 308 “could further incentivize illegal entry into Arizona”.

“As an Arizona State Senator, making it easier for Arizonans to access higher education and enter the workforce is a top priority,” she wrote. “Proposition 308 has misplaced guidance. The place to decide whether an illegal citizen can receive in-state tuition is in Washington, DC, not on the Arizona ballot.

Somewhere else

Harnisch said other statewide ballot measures that aren’t directly tied to higher education could still affect state revenue and have “downstream consequences.” This includes a potential tax rate reduction in Colorado and a potential new income tax on Massachusetts millionaires, whose income would go to education and transportation.

One of the most innovative local ballot measures this year is the potential levy of a 0.2% sales tax in Fresno County to support California State University, Fresno. The tax would bring in about $36 million a year and $720 million over 20 years, San Joaquin Valley sunshine reported. Two-thirds of the revenue from the levy would go towards improving school improvement and scholarships, while one-third would go towards repairing and upgrading sports facilities, including the football stadium. Details of revenue allocation would be determined by a citizen oversight committee.

supporters say the tax would boost the local economy and is necessary because state funding is not sufficient to maintain the current facilities. Opponents criticize the use of the tax to fund sports projects, Sun reported. The ballot measure needs a majority of votes to pass.

A local builder helped develop the proposal and is one of the main backers, according to the Sun. The university cannot take a public position on the proposal.

The fresno bee editorial board recently approved the extent, saying it could help the university expand much-needed programs such as nursing and serve more students.

Billions of bonds on ballots

Bond measures make up the bulk of higher education-related ballot measures at the local level, analysis finds The Ballotpedia database local ballot issues.

If approved, the bond measures on the ballot would fund a range of capital projects totaling nearly $9 billion. The $5.3 billion request from the Los Angeles Community College District accounts for the bulk of that total.

The nine-college district with more than 200,000 students has borrowed more than $9 billion in bonds over the past two decades, but this year’s bond measure would be its biggest bond demand, the Los Angeles Times reported. The money would go towards replacing or renovating 45 buildings built before or during the 1970s, improving campus infrastructure and upgrading technology, among other projects.

“Measure LA would provide the funds needed to upgrade our aging infrastructure and outdated buildings across all of our nine colleges,” Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez said in a statement. information technology, which is so important to our future workforce, and helps us achieve our sustainability goals. It would be an investment in our community to meet the demands of an educated workforce in Los Angeles and improve the learning environment for our students.

The Los Angeles Times has approved the measurement.

According to Los Angeles Times.

“It’s an inappropriate time and essentially an irresponsible act on our part to continue this bond,” administrator Ernest Moreno told the newspaper.

The district has a history of mismanaging bond-funded projects, with some going over budget and requiring costly repairs, according to a Time investigation, but officials have been working to resolve these issues. A neighborhood survey conducted over the summer found that six out of 10 voters would support the bond measure. Fifty-five percent of voters must approve for the measure to pass.

Another important bond measure is on the ballot in Travis County, Texas. Austin Community College District seeks $770 million to build two new campuses and expand workforce development programs, KUT 90.5 reported. About 5% of the deposit would go towards support services such as on-campus childcare.

“This is a significant investment,” Chris Cervini, ACCD’s vice chancellor for community and public affairs, told NPR. “Thinking about what has happened during the pandemic over the past two and a half to three years, learning needs to be more responsive to the human needs of students.”

Back in California, Pasadena City College wants out $565 million in bonds to replace leaky roofs, remove unsafe buildings, upgrade technology, renovate buildings, and establish permanent satellite campuses in the area. The Cerritos Community College District $425 million This bond measure would finance similar projects, including the construction of several new buildings.

In Oregon, Portland Community College has a $450 million a bond measure on the ballot that would fund infrastructure and technology upgrades, the expansion of technical education, and the renovation of existing facilities.

In North Carolina, voters in Wake County will decide on a $353.2 million measure to support a range of projects at Wake Technical Community College, including an expansion of the college’s health sciences program and the creation of a new campus. Durham Technical Community College is seeking bond approval of $112.74 million to construct two new classroom buildings, complete repairs and renovations, and acquire land for future growth.