If the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees and administration think that they should receive some of the cash generated by the half-cent sales tax increase if it passes by a simple majority in November, they better think again. At least if we have anything to say about it.

In an endorsement of the tax (Measure Y) and an advisory measure (YY) that asks voters if half of the estimated $12 million generated by the increase should go towards education, the board made it clear that they intend to ask City Hall for some dough to cover the cost of Emeritus exercises classes and possibly other programs.

“Without Measure Y, vital services, such as 911 services, paramedics and police, school and community college funding face serious cuts,” the board’s statement in support of the measure read.

We say keep your hands off. SMC has already received generous support from the community in the form of two multi-million-dollar bond measures to revitalize the campus. Coming to the taxpayers again at a time when local public schools are struggling shows how out of touch the board is and how greedy. Even though the advisory measure simply says “education” and does not specifically list the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, it is clear that the intent is to help fund K-12, and not the thousands of students who attend SMC but do not live in Santa Monica or Malibu and therefore will not pay their fare share of the tax increase.

While the Daily Press still has to decide whether or not to support the tax, we do not support any money generated going to SMC. College officials have more financial wiggle room when it comes to balancing their budget, whereas the school district is pretty much reliant on Sacramento, a fact that strikes fear in the hearts of many. This tax increase is supposed to be about saving essential city services and protecting public education. We don’t believe that exercises classes for seniors, while important, are critical to the future of this community and therefore should not be funded with this revenue. SMC needs to find a way to save those classes without going to City Hall looking for a handout.

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