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November Voters To Decide $350m Bond For Cerritos College

By Brian Hews

Voters who live in the Cerritos Community College District are going to be asked to approve a massive $350 million General Obligation Bond in the upcoming November General Election.
During a recent meeting, the Cerritos College Board of Trustees approved a resolution to place a measure on the upcoming Fall ballot.
The measure, known as the “Cerritos College Job Training and College Transfer Measure” and supporters claim it was drafted to “prepare local Cerritos College students for high-skilled jobs and 4-year universities.”
It also claims that the new bond money will go to updating classrooms, technology, math, science and computer labs, upgrading job-training facilities, providing classrooms and labs to accommodate growing demand, replacing leaky roofs, aging and unsafe buildings, facilities/equipment, and acquiring, constructing, repairing buildings, classrooms,
“Approval of this bond measure will enable the college to provide facilities that support academic and vocational programs that meet the changing needs of our students and better serve our community,” said Cerritos College President Dr. Linda Lacy.
The last time Cerritos College voters approved a bond for the Norwalk area campus was back in 2004. Those funds were earmarked for projects that are nearing completion.
In December 2011, the board approved the district’s 2011 Facilities Master Plan which provides “a framework for future development including the placement of new facilities, renovation of existing facilities and overall improvement of the campus to support a student-centered educational environment.”
“Additional funding beyond those provided by Measure CC is needed to implement the plan and maintain the college’s position as a valuable resource for the community.”The Facilities Master Plan is our roadmap to better prepare students for high-skilled jobs and transfer to four-year universities,” said Board President Bob Arthur.
Arthur is up for reelection this November along with incumbents Tom Jackson, Ted Edmiston, Tina Cho, Jeanne McHatton, and Tina Cho.
Arthur pointed out that “voter approval of the bond measure in November would generate a stable and locally controlled source of funding to update classrooms, labs and job-training facilities, which would ensure a safe and technologically advanced learning environment for the community.”
The measure calls for resources to be upgraded and expand facilities for career training in well-paying careers that do not require a four-year degree.
In addition, the bond calls for the installation and expansion of additional electrical services to accommodate improved computer technology and Internet capabilities, the repair of leaky roofs and replacement of aging and unsafe buildings, facilities and equipment.
Also, planned if the bond is approved is an upgrade and replacement of the campuses aged information technology infrastructure and network systems in which officials claim will “increase and improve efficiency and capacity.”
Upgrade outdated classrooms, math, science and computer labs telecommunications, internet and network connections.
Proponents also call for the upgrade support facilities for Veterans and currently active military personnel; the expansion of the nursing, dental hygiene, and health sciences department, and to upgrade and replace technology, computers, hardware and software systems, used for job training and retraining programs.
College officials also pointed out that the projects in which they would like to have completed will be on an “as needed basis,” and each project is assumed to include its share of furniture, equipment, architectural, engineering, and similar planning costs, program/project management, staff training expenses and a customary contingency.
Carmen Avalos, a former Trustee of the college, and a current candidate in Area 2 against incumbent Tom Jackson said she is “still in the process of studying the specifics” of the bond measure. “I want to make sure that if the bond is passed, and no fraud will take place by those who are potential vendors,” Avalos said.
“In these dire economic times, passing a $350 million bond right now may not be a priority with voters,” Avalos said.
John Paul Drayer, of Bellflower, a candidate for Trustee in Area 3 against Appointed Incumbent Jean McHatton said he wants the college to focus on “completing the current capital improvement bond” that was approved by voters in 2004 at a cost of $210 million.
“We haven’t even finished the job on the first bond project, and we haven’t had a comprehensive audit relating to that measure,” Drayer said. “Cerritos College needs to start thinking outside the box,” Drayer said.
Drayer also pointed out that voters in the Bellflower Unified School District are going to be voting on a bond measure calls for the establishment of a $79 million capital improvement measure. “Voters are going to be bombarded with tax hikes measures in November,” Drayer said in an interview from Bellflower City Hall on Wednesday afternoon.
He pointed out that the Bellflower City Council is also placing a local tax hike measure for the November ballot. “Makes me wonder how much voters can actually handle,” Drayer said.

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