The majority of voters favored a bond measure to expand the Mt. San Jacinto College Pass campus, but Measure U fell short of the 55 percent needed to pass in the Nov. 2, 2010 election.
Measure U, a $47 million bond measure, received nearly 52 percent approval from voters in the Pass area, according to the Riverside County Registrar of Voters web site. Only voters in the Pass were asked to decide on the bond and all funds would have remained in the Pass for expansion of the local campus.
Three other community college districts appear successful in their local bond campaigns -- Imperial ($80 million); Ohlone ($349 million); and San Jose Evergreen ($268 million).
“While we are disappointed that Measure U did not pass, Mt. San Jacinto College is encouraged by the majority of support from the Pass,” said Dr. Roger Schultz, Superintendent/President. “The Pass area’s unemployment rate is higher than other areas and higher education and job training are pathways out of the economic downturn this region is experiencing.”
Mt. San Jacinto College began this year building the initial elements of a campus to serve the Pass area, which stretches from Calimesa to Whitewater. The San Gorgonio Pass Outreach Center consists of modular buildings that include four classrooms.
Measure U would have funded the expansion of the Pass campus with permanent buildings. It would have paid for equipment and labs, including those needed to offer programs like nursing and criminal justice. State community college leaders are expecting California to implement mid-year budget cuts that could impact community colleges.
“Although we realize the need for higher education is great in this area, we will have to live within our means,” Dr. Schultz said. “Mt. San Jacinto College will not be able to offer as much as if the measure had passed, but we have a history of partnerships and innovation. We are committed to serving the Pass, as well as the entire district, with quality education.”
Mt. San Jacinto College is one of only a few of the state’s 72 community college districts without an approved bond measure. Since 2001, 65 districts have passed at least one local bond. Some of the districts have passed more than one bond measure during that time.
The college will continue holding evening classes at Banning and Beaumont high schools. The Pass Outreach Center will offer day and evening classes beginning in January 2011.
The Pass center is located at 3144 W. Westward Avenue in Banning. The phone number is 951-922-1327.