SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A proposed bill would require community colleges to provide overnight parking facilities to homeless students. Some call it a "well-intended idea" while others are concerned.
Sacramento City College has 22,000 students between all of their campuses, and based on a recent study, one in five students have been homeless in the past year.
Kimberly Bautista is studying political science at Sacramento City College. She spoke about a fellow student who struggled with homelessness.
"It's very sad and unfortunate that students have to go through these conditions," Bautista said. "In order to pay his tuition he lived in his car for two semesters and one of those semesters was during summer."
She's glad to hear about AB 302, proposed legislation that would require a community college with parking facilities on campus to grant overnight access to any homeless student enrolled in coursework and in good standing. The school's board would implement the state-mandated local program.
"They already provide night classes, I don't think making an extension for students to sleep here would be that much of an extra cost," Bautista said.
But the Community College League of California, a non-profit made up of the 72 public community college districts, opposes the legislation.
"We are concerned that this approach fails to solve the deeper financial aid problem our students face and have long advocated for the state to fix. Unfortunately, AB 302 perpetuates the longstanding structural inequities in California's higher education system. As the fifth-largest economy in the world, California can do better than to simply offer our homeless community college students a parking lot," a Community College League of California representative Laura Murrell said.
In a letter to lawmakers, the Los Rios Community College District said it would only support AB 302 if it was amended to remove the parking access requirement, citing concerns about high costs for security, restrooms, and liability. They said a mandate is not needed because the system is looking at other ways to solve the problem.
The California Constitution requires the state reimburse local agencies and school districts for things mandated by the state.
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