Mustang Daily Staff Report
Community college advocates from all over California gathered at the state capitol on Jan. 27 and 28 for the Annual Legislative Conference, one of many conferences, workshops and seminars sponsored by the Community College League of California each year.
The conference “provides a unique opportunity to connect with other advocates and learn the latest news on the state budget and economic outlook for California,” the league’s website said.
Approximately 250 activists traveled this year to hear legislation and legislative proposals and to lobby for community colleges. The group was comprised mostly of trustees, community college presidents and vice presidents, staff and a small number of students. The conference featured a series of workshops focused on the foundations of effective leadership, effective trusteeship and the nuts and bolts of restoring higher education in California.
Since the state is in the early stages of the legislation process, the main focus of the conference was geared toward the state budget, CEO of the league Scott Lay said.
The most recent budget from Gov. Jerry Brown includes policy initiatives for significant budget cuts, which made the main priorities of the league to be aimed toward restoring higher education at this time, he said.
“We’re so thankful to the voters for Proposition 30,” Lay said. “It doesn’t heal the cuts that we’ve taken, but it does stop the bleeding.”
The league aims to heal the cuts by educating advocates of higher education and lobbying the legislature for more focus on education in future budgets.
The Community College League of California is a non-profit organization for the 72 local community college districts in California. It provides an opportunity for community colleges to weigh in on budgets and matters that will be discussed this year, Lay said.
Since 1990, the league has been providing legislative information to the 72 districts on a weekly or monthly basis, allowing the districts to pass the information along to the community colleges, which can then pass it along to their students.
Ventura College Chancellor Jamillah Moore said the information provided to the districts and more specifically, the community colleges, is invaluable.
“The districts have been members of the statewide organization for (years),” she said, “and it allows us to provide the information to students about legislation.”
Amber Diller contributed to this report.