Porterville Recorder

Bond Measure could bring in almost $39 million

The Kern Community College District (KCCD) has a $500 million bond on the Nov. 8 ballot, $38.9 million of which would go to Porterville College.

The KCCD’s bond, Measure J, will give bigger portions of the money to Bakersfield College and Cerro Coso College

Rosa Flores Carlson, president of Porterville College (PC), said the bond money would be used for capital improvements only to upgrade the PC campus.

Many of the colleges buildings were built in the 1960s and 1970s. With restricted funds from the state, Carlson said the bond money is the only way to upgrade the facilities for future students..

Carlson said the athletic fields will be upgraded, as well as the career technical building, bathrooms will be remodeled, campus-wide irrigation will be upgraded, an allied health building will be built — which currently consists of 10-year-old portables — and will help the current renovation of the gym.

Stephanie Cortez, a member of the Measure J steering committee, said the bond money will also be used to repair gas, electric and sewer lines, which haven’t been replaced since the buildings were first constructed. 

The money will help make the campus more accessible to students with disabilities, Cortez said, and the allied health building will be integral to creating a better nursing program and developing faculty for the health department. 

John Corkins, general manager of Research for Hire Inc. and KCCD trustee, said Measure J is unique because only about 6 percent interest will have to be paid back, as opposed to almost 50 percent. 

Corkins said with a local committee overseeing the bond, control of money stays local and is better for the community.

The bond value is placed at about $25 per $100,000 of assessed value, meaning if a homeowner has a house valued at $100,000, they get taxed $25 a year. 

The bond will be given out in installments every three to five years, saving the taxpayers some money, Corkins said.

Corkins said a poll conducted in July showed 71 percent of individuals support the measure. Surprisingly, most people supported an even higher bond amount, he said.

“What they want us to do is go get it one time, and don’t come and ask again,” Corkins said. “Spend it wisely, but don’t ask again.”

Corkins said the bond has a pretty good chance of passing because residents know the money being taxed will stay in Tulare County at Porterville College.

Cortez, a graduate of PC, said she joined the committee as a mother who would like her children to attend PC in the future. She said PC is important because it offers affordable education for students, who can then go on to a four-year university.

Cortez said it’s difficult to get students to want to attend PC, because the campus isn’t equipped with the technology they have been used to in high school.

Many of Porterville’s high schools are technologically advanced, so Carlson said the college wants to meet the needs of these students by upgrading technology and making sure they don’t feel like they’re going back in time when they begin college.

Local students attending college in their own city helps save money, Cortez said. She calls PC the “golden nugget” of Porterville, and said she would like to see future Porterville students benefit from the upgrading of the college.

The measure requires a 55 percent yes vote to pass.

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