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Survey: Majority supports college district bond

The bond, which could be between $500 and $700 million, would support three campuses, including Costa Mesa's Orange Coast College.

February 07, 2012|By Britney Barnes

A majority of residents surveyed in the Coast Community College District support a potential 2012 bond measure for building repairs and job training, according to a poll financed by the district.

The district, which released the results last week, is ramping up its exploration of a bond that an initial ballot summary says would support the Orange Coast, Golden West and Coastline Community campuses, but not toward the district's administrative salaries or Sacramento.

The poll's preliminary numbers show that about 60% of voters surveyed would definitely, probably or are leaning toward voting in favor of a 2012 general obligation bond measure, said Richard Bernard, a research associate with Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, during a Feb. 1 presentation to the district Board of Trustees.

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"Now I look at these numbers and say this is doable, but it's a challenge," Bernard said. "You have a lot of soft voters, so it means you have to educate them so they understand why you need the money."

Because students' tuition goes to Sacramento and gets redistributed back to the district, "we want people to understand that this [bond] money will stay in the community," said district spokeswoman Martha Parham.

The district is considering $500 million to $700 million in bonds, said Chancellor Andrew C. Jones, but the cost estimates are still being calculated.

"It's a quite costly endeavor," he said. "But we think for us to be competitive, and to keep offering our students and our community what they need ... we have to keep investing in our physical plan."

Jones said he's not looking to institute state of the art, but rather "state of the market."

The bond is being considered to specifically address "expanding police, nursing, health-related careers and technical job training; upgrading computer technology; removing asbestos; meeting earthquake retrofitting and disability access requirements; improving educational resources for active military; and acquiring, constructing and repairing facilities, sites and equipment," according to the poll.

The board voted Feb. 1 to pursue putting the bond on the November ballot and moving forward with its exploration of the measure.

The district has until August to decide if it will go forward with the ballot measure, Bernard said.

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