Higher education wins big in California

For California college students, confetti doesn’t mean much. It’s another kind of paper — cool, green cash — that makes significant a pair of victories in Tuesday night’s election.

The first is Proposition 30, the Jerry Brown-touted tax measure that rescues the community college, CSU and UC systems from crippling “trigger cuts” to funding levels.

Early returns — from mostly rural, conservative areas — had Prop 30 losing until just after 11 p.m., when votes shifted to the affirmative, never to look back.

Returns from late-reporting counties — you know who you are, Los Angeles — continued to grow Prop 30’s margin into the evening, which stood at 53.0 percent to 47.0 percent at 1:20 a.m. with nearly three-quarters of California votes tallied.

Prop. 30 will bring a tax hike for the wealthy over seven years and a quarter-cent sales taxes increase for four years in order to fund schools. It also calls for students enrolled for the Fall 2012 semester to receive a $249 refund in fees.

Endorsed by former President Bill Clinton, the proposition would establish a guarantee for public safety funding and stop another $6 billion in cuts to our schools this year.

Had Prop 30 failed, it could have left schools with huge budget gaps to fill, increased fees for UC and CSU schools, and perhaps incite more student protests over school fees.

San Francisco voters also agreed to foot a bigger bill for budget-strapped City College by overwhelmingly passing (72 percent) Proposition A, a parcel tax to fund the troubled, beloved and really important San Francisco institution.

Each parcel of precious real estate in San Francisco will be taxed another $79 for eight years to raise $14 million to help fund the largest community college in the United States.

City College spokesman Larry Kramer told the Chron:

“San Francisco voters have once again shown their support for City College, and we’re very, very grateful.”