Voters ‘plant trees’ for future students with ECC bond vote
For the second time in a decade, El Camino College has won voter approval for a nearly $400 million facilities bond measure. In 2002, voters approved a $394 million bond measure. On Tuesday, by a dramatic two-to-one-margin, voters approved a $350 million bond measure. Tuesday’s vote was 95,149 in favor of the bond, labeled Measure E, and 45,075 opposed.
El Camino Board President Bill Beverly called Measure E’s passage a present to future generations.
“It’s like old people planting trees whose shade they won’t live long enough to enjoy. The current voters, students, faculty, board members and administration won’t be around to enjoy the new facilities. Everyone did this for the next generation,” Beverly said.
“Thanks to the voters, the South Bay will have the finest community college in California,” Beverly added.
“This was more satisfying than my own election to the Manhattan Beach City Council because it brought the whole South Bay together,” said two-term Mahattan Beach City Councilman Richard Montgonery, who managed the measure E campaign.
“It was a sprint from the day our team first met two months ago in downtown Torrance,” he said.
Montgomery credited the campaign’s success to having reached out to labor, elected officials, and business.
El Camino College President Tom Fallo also praised local voters.
“Students, contributors, board members, citizens, faculty and staff joined in a grassroots display of common unity in educational excellence,” he said in a prepared statement.
Voter turn-out was 50 percent in the college district, which includes the three beach cities, El Segundo, Torrance, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox and Hawthorne.
Measure E will add a tax of $7 per $100,000 of assessed valuation, on top of the $17 tax from the 2002 bond measure.
Proceeds from the new bond will fund a new music theater and arts complex, a new football stadium and new fitness, counseling and student activities centers. The funds will also be used to renovate Marsee Auditorium and the library and for infrastructure improvements.
The 2002 bond money has been used to give the 60-year-old campus infrastructure improvements and new science, humanities and math centers.
El Camino also stands to benefit from Tuesday’s approval of Proposition 30, which will increase taxes to help fund all of California’s public schools.
Had Proposition 30 failed, El Camino would have been forced to reduce its full-time equivalent enrollment by seven percent. Over the past four years, budget cuts have forced the college to reduce its enrollment from 22,000 to 18,000. ER