Randles, Reyes and Reese: San Jose-Evergreen Community College District underserves San Jose students
Photo courtesy of SJECCD.

    For many years we have been studying the problem of how the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District (SJECCD) underserves San Jose students with limited class and program offerings, forcing many students to attend other community college districts.

    This is a matter of equity, social justice and educational opportunity. The chancellor and the trustees of the SJECCD have been aware of the problem of limited class and program offerings at both Evergreen Valley College and San Jose City College since at least 2015.

    SJECCD chronically underserves San Jose students by perpetuating an educational service model which causes some 17,000 San Jose students to leave San Jose to attend West Valley-Mission and De Anza-Foothill colleges due to these long standing limitations on class and program offerings at San Jose’s SJECCD two colleges. The San Jose student population at SJECCD is approximately 13,000 full-time equivalent students, based on the latest publicly-available data.

    A concern is that SJECCD is restricting the size of the student population so that it remains funded as a Basic Aid District (aka Excess Tax District) in the eyes of the state of California. In a time of COVID-19, we are seeing gross inequity and disparity in health care, workforce income and reserves, and education. The education that SJECCD is delivering to its community and students is an area that SJECCD needs to improve significantly.

    SJECCD is pursuing tax measures to be placed on the November 2020 ballot totaling nearly $900 million. The SJECCD 2016 bond which was approved by SJECCD residents was for $750 million. In four years, SJECCD will have asked San Jose residents for $1.65 billion and yet they still do not address their chronically underserving San Jose community.

    They are continually producing an educational service model with insufficient class and program offerings to support their own San Jose students.

    In the past 1.5 years we have had several meetings with the chancellor to further the discussion between the community and SJECCD on issues for the future betterment of our San Jose community college students. A virtual online presentation was made by us to the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District Board of Trustees on April 14 on the issue of SJECCD underserving the San Jose community and the presentation elicited no response from the trustees.

    The SJECCD has not sufficiently acknowledged that SJECCD underserves San Jose nor have they prepared a plan of action to remedy the inequity for San Jose students.

    This issue of inequity in social justice, educational opportunity and serving their community’s students’ needs to be addressed before SJECCD asks for an additional $900 million in tax measures in November 2020.

    Sandi and Rex Randles, Daniel Reyes and Robert Reese are longtime residents of San Jose’s Evergreen neighborhood in District 8.

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