With a slate of bold and controversial budget proposals, Gov. Jerry Brown has placed a renewed focus on the state's struggling community colleges, the world's largest system of two-year schools that are often overshadowed by the University of California and Cal State systems.
The governor's recommendations are aimed at keeping community colleges affordable, keeping classes accessible and moving students faster through the system to allow them to graduate or transfer to a four-year university at higher rates. Brown's spending plan must clear the Legislature, and some college officials have vowed to oppose — or at least try to modify — some portions.
These proposals are among the most significant policy shifts in years and could reshape many campus operations.
"It's a courageous plan," said Eloy Oakley, president of Long Beach City College. "The governor is focusing on policy issues we've been talking about for many years but dancing around the margins. A lot of this has been on the table in statehouses throughout the nation, but we're addressing these issues in California in a meaningful way."