Ann Board

Ann Board, the president of Cerro Coso Community College, discusses the ballot Measure J to help community colleges.

The Kern Community College District is asking the public for help in updating facilities, along with adding interactive classes.

Measure J, a bond measure for $505 million to make improvements to facilities for community colleges in Bakersfield, Porterville and Ridgecrest, will be on the November ballot.

Ann Board, the president of Cerro Coso Community College in Ridgecrest, was a speaker at the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council meeting on Oct. 5. Board explained that this measure will be a great help to anyone wanting to attend one of these schools.

“This money will help upgrade classrooms and labs, repair sewage lines and leaky roofs, ensuring access for disabled and will put more money toward veteran programs,” she said. “Classes at our colleges provide job training and give students an affordable education.”

Board said CCCC also provides services to local high schools, such as Tehachapi High, by conducting dual enrollment classes for students to earn college credit. CCCC's service area includes some 18,500 square miles.

“We have the largest college service area in the California,” Board said. “We have classes all around Kern County from Edwards Air Force Base, to Mojave, Lake Isabella and Tehachapi, and beyond, including Bishop. Cerro Coso offers classes for the regular day student, as well as high school students and evening classes.”

If passed, Measure J would help upgrade facilities at Cerro Coso as well as improve interactive TV classes, where students can interact with teachers at different locations.

“That allows us to have more courses so students from a few different areas can get involved,” Board said.

The cost of Measure J to taxpayers would be $25 a year per $100,000 of assessed property value. The bond would be over 25 years Although on average it could add about $60 annually to a property tax bill, supporters say it's worth the investment in higher education. The Kern Economic Development Corp. and the Kern County Taxpayers Association both have endorsed the measure, saying potential businesses looking to move to Kern County want an educated workforce and passage of this bond would show Kern County residents are investing in education.

Board said anyone living within the Kern Community College District can vote on this bond measure, which includes voters in parts of Kern, San Bernardino and Tulare counties.

“All the money will stay locally and none will go toward salaries,' she said. “We can't continue to provide quality education without some help from this bond measure.”