Students march back

Save education!

Save education!

Public college and university students and supporters will rally this Monday, March 14, at the state Capitol to once again focus attention school budget cuts and what’s at stake for higher education in California.

Sacramento State graduate Olgalilia Ramírez, director of government relations for the California State Student Association, will participate in the rally, called March in March. “We’re on a track of higher education becoming less accessible and affordable,” she argued, “with the actual services that students receive shrinking as the cost grows.”

Alex Pader, an American River College student and current president of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, one of the main sponsors of the March in March, said that students from across the state will come together “in a single unified voice” to tell the state Legislature and the people of California that higher education needs to be prioritized. “Higher education is a fundamental right that every Californian should have access to,” he said.

Pader expects 10,000 to 15,000 people to join the march.

According to California Community Colleges, student fees have jumped 324 percent at UC schools, 342 percent for CSUs and 327 percent for CCCs during the past 10 years.

March in March student activists will assemble from 6:30 to 10 a.m. at the California Auto Museum, 2200 Front Street. Then, they’ll march to the west steps of the Capitol at 11 a.m. for a rally that will be complete at noon.

Meanwhile, Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing a budget that in part would slice $12.5 billion of state spending to close a $26.6 billion gap between revenues and expenditures. Under his plan, higher education loses $1.4 billion: $400 million from 112 state community colleges, $500 million from 23 CSU campuses and $500 million from 10 UC campuses.

To avoid larger spending cuts to the higher-education system, the governor is calling for a special election in June to extend for five years current taxes on income, sales and vehicle fees. But first, the Democratic-controlled Assembly and Senate must both agree, by a two-thirds vote, to his proposed plan and also to put the tax-extension measure on the June ballot. Gov. Brown’s original deadline to lawmakers for approval of his budget and tax plans was Thursday, March 10.