by Lou Binninger
Colleges in America are in trouble and the recent Yuba College Measure C Bond failure showed their desperate predicament. Colleges are burying future generations with bond debt and current students with loan debt.
Measure C lost in all 8 counties where property owners are saddled with the property tax assessments for 20-40 years to fund Yuba College projects.
The California community or 2-year colleges are funded by the state but don’t live within their means so they borrow money via bond measures. Fantastic salaries and pensions for administrators and faculty, along with bloated administrations have financially buried schools.
Bond funds are paid back at egregious interest costs over decades by property owners.
The fight to defeat Measure C uncovered disturbing facts about the Yuba College system. The Yuba County campus looks neglected even after the 2006 bond funding.
The administration deserted the Yuba campus to lease space on Plumas Street in Yuba City for $310,000 per year. And new campuses are being developed in Sutter County and Woodland (Yolo County).
Yuba and Sutter voters wonder why a majority of their bond payments are going to a Woodland campus. And, why is maintenance not being done at the Yuba County site? The former Yuba College facilities in Marysville now a part of Marysville High School are still serving students while newer buildings on North Neale Road have been “moth-balled” and are now wet, moldy and in disrepair.
Personnel salaries, pensions and benefits have hindered even normal maintenance like paint, plumbing, roofing etc. It is incredible to read that a bond measure would include annual budgeted items like maintenance costs.
The place looks like it is going out of business. Is the long term vision to abandon the Yuba County campus? It looks that way.
Schools have become unaffordable for taxpayers and students. It is hilarious to hear about administrators whispering “free” education and being a sanctuary for DACA students (illegals) like schools are a law to themselves. Now, all first year students in California community colleges go “free.” This is a bankrupt California community college system using a last ditch effort to get butts in the seats.
There is no “free.” The taxpayer is getting screwed by another government scam.
Educational offerings have become irrelevant to today’s student. Most are much better off going to trade schools and working simultaneously to avoid wasting time and the political indoctrination of instructors. The days of “hot dog” liberal teachers mocking young people are coming to an end. Instructors have become intellectual bullies but young people are getting the message that college today is not the answer.
Students who take on huge debt to complete school will never come out ahead. Student loan debt is now $1.6 trillion involving 44 million debtors. It is another federal government boondoggle of giving tax money to students, colleges raising tuitions and then spiking salaries for more and more administrators and staff. College presidents know there is a deep taxpayer pocket of funds for student loans.
Who needs all the brick and mortar schools anyway? Most of the classes are a waste of time and contribute nothing to a career or good citizenship. Most needed subjects can be offered online where people can study and complete the tests.
Tesla inventor-entrepreneur Elon Musk hires based on skill and intellect. Degrees and diplomas are unnecessary. Other Silicon Valley companies like Google and Apple no longer require a college degree.
Musk has a personal dissatisfaction with school and says “I don’t care if you even graduated high school. I hated going to school when I was a kid. It was torture.”
Conventional schools today are incapable of helping young people develop the knowledge and skills they need to do 21st century work. The old factory model of signaling potential employers by surviving the schooling conveyor belt is sick and dying.
Musk realizes what it takes to succeed in the innovation era and it has little to do with conventional schooling. The online coding Lambda School has income share agreements. You can attend for free but the company takes a percentage of graduates’ earnings once they land a high-tech job. If the student does not secure a job then they do not pay. Lambda is receiving 1,000 applications a week.
Community colleges are in trouble and bond requests represent extraordinary end of life measures.