MADERA COUNTY — Voters across the State Center Community College District (SCCCD) have thrown their support behind Measure C, which will address District needs at Oakhurst Community College Center, Fresno City College, Reedley College, Clovis Community College, and Madera Community College Center, and improve its aging school facilities.
The measure was approved by voters in Tuesday’s primary election, garnering about 64 percent of the vote. A 55 percent majority was required for the measure to pass. (Exact vote totals not yet tallied)
The bond measure will raise an estimated $485 million and make the District eligible to receive any available matching State funds. The process of allocating the funds will be subject to independent annual financial and performance audits, and the eyes of a citizens oversight committee.
Under state law, funds generated by the bond can only go to facilities projects, and can’t be used for any other purpose, including teacher and administrator pay, or other ongoing operating expenses.
Homeowner taxes will be calculated at the rate of approximately $20 per year on each $100,000 of assessed property value, according to local realtor Brad Ditton, who has been a staunch and vocal supporter of the bond measure.
One of the projects earmarked from the funding generated by Measure C is the creation of new campus in Oakhurst, including site acquisition, infrastructure development and Phase I construction of critical classrooms and labs.
In the SCCCD 2012-2025 District Wide Facilities Master Plan, the overview proposed that Oakhurst receive a new campus building that is a two-story structure on the existing campus location. Whether money goes toward expanding the existing facilities or acquiring suitable property at a new location, yet undetermined, the Oakhurst site is expected to be the recipient some $25 million dollars from the bond.
The SCCCD, sometimes referred to as State Center, was formed in 1964 and serves about one million people including 18 unified and high school districts in more than 5,743 square miles of urban and rural territory. The total operating budget for SCCCD in 2014-15 was $190.7 million. Total district enrollment for the fall semester 2014 is noted on the website at over 44,000 students.
In the 1980s, State Center opened a satellite campus of Reedley College at Yosemite High School in Oakhurst, in order to offer students “the opportunity to receive an affordable, quality college education right in their own community.”
The Center moved to its present 2.5-acre site at Highway 41 and Road 426 in 1996, housed in six buildings adjacent to the Oakhurst branch of the Madera County Library.
The college serves Oakhurst, Mariposa County, Coarsegold, North Fork and the surrounding communities. Students at the Oakhurst Center can earn an Associate Degree and most of the units required to transfer to a four-year college or university. The Oakhurst site currently has an enrollment of over 620 students.