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Sonoma County college leaders hail Prop. 30's passage

  • Political Science major Patrick Mahoney, 20, is a third-year student at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park and is a statewide issues senator and a leader for a campus drive that helped to register more than 1,000 students to vote, with a focus on Proposition 30 during the latest election, Friday Nov. 9, 2012. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2012

Patrick Maloney, a junior at Sonoma State University, woke up Wednesday morning to a pleasant surprise.

California voters had approved Proposition 30, the statewide tax measure backed by Gov. Jerry Brown to raise about $6 billion a year for education.

For thousands of state university students, it meant money in the bank: specifically a $249 refund of a tuition fee increase they paid this fall.

For Maloney, a 20-year-old political science major from Sacramento, it also was a payoff for a successful campaign to register more than 1,000 SSU students to vote in Tuesday's election.

"It wasn't a tough sell," said Maloney, who organized the drive in his role as statewide issues senator in the Associated Students group. "When I told them how it directly affected them, they were like, &‘Sign me up.'"

Prior to the election, the CSU Board of Trustees agreed to rescind the $249 per semester tuition fee hike if Prop 30 passed, returning annual tuition fees for full-time undergraduate students to $5,472, the same as last academic year.

CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed said he hoped that passage of Proposition 30, by a 54 to 46 percent margin, marks "the beginning of the state's reinvestment in higher education."

California "needs to start making up for the devastating budget cuts of the past several years and focus on higher education as a driver of California's economic future," Reed said in a statement.

Maloney said the California State Student Association, which represents the 23 state universities, attempted to register 35,000 students to vote this fall, and SSU exceeded its goal.

Proposition 30 was a conversation topic among SSU students "who know what's going on around them," Maloney said.

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