Campus News


Local Communities Give Santa Barbara City College High Marks, Support Necessary College Upgrades

May 8, 2014

On Thursday, May 8, the Santa Barbara City College District Board of Trustees received the results of a community survey conducted by the respected independent polling firm of EMC Research. The survey was based on interviews with 501 randomly selected residents who live within the Santa Barbara Community College District and are likely to vote in November.

Residents in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria, and the surrounding local unincorporated communities all strongly approve of the job Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) is doing, giving the college an overwhelming 93% favorability rating.  “We have outstanding faculty and staff at SBCC and excellent academic and career/technical education programs, and we are so pleased to have the community’s recognition and support of us,” said Lori Gaskin, SBCC President.

The survey also showed a strong recognition that the college is in need of additional funding for facility improvements with 73% of respondents indicating that they would vote yes or lean toward supporting a potential local education bond to maintain quality, affordable education by investing in repairs and upgraded infrastructure at SBCC. The survey indicates support far beyond the 55% required to pass such a measure.

 “With the cost of higher education skyrocketing, SBCC is committed to ensuring our students have access to high-quality, affordable college classes and programs to help them prepare for careers and transfer to four-year universities,” said President Gaskin. 

With regard to the community’s interest in a potential local education bond to address critical college campus and classroom needs, President Gaskin remarked, “A locally approved bond measure would allow SBCC to repair aged facilities and upgrade academic, science, engineering, healthcare, and vocational classrooms.”

The presentation of community survey results concludes a year-long effort to obtain stakeholder and community input on college needs and priorities. At the next two meetings on May 22 and June 12, the Board will conduct final readings for a bond measure and finalize ballot language required to place the measure before voters in November 2014. 

Key Findings from Recent Community Tracking Survey by EMC Research:
The following are key findings from a telephone survey conducted by EMC Research in April 2014 among a random selection of 501 likely voters in the Santa Barbara Community College District.  EMC Research performed similar community surveys for SBCC in 2013 and 2007.

Community optimism continues to be high.  More than half of voters in the area (56%) are generally feeling optimistic compared with 26% that are feeling more pessimistic about issues in the area.

The SBCC brand remains strong: Overall perceptions toward City College and individual brand ratings are stable and VERY positive. An overwhelming 93% of respondents are favorable toward the College (including 73% who are very favorable and 20% who are somewhat favorable). These ratings are consistent with the findings from May 2013 when 94% of respondents gave the College a favorable rating, and 2007 when 92% of respondents gave the College a favorable rating.

There is strong support for a potential education improvement bond measure. Nearly three-quarters of respondents vote yes or lean yes in the initial vote, exceeding the 55% needed for approval. This is an increase in six percentage-points from the baseline survey in May 2013 when the initial support was at 67% (59% yes, 9% lean yes). This strong support is solid across all geographic and demographic audiences throughout the college district.

Methodology:
This telephone survey conducted by EMC Research included 501 interviews among likely voters in the Santa Barbara Community College District. The purpose of the research was to compare opinions today to research that was conducted in May 2013 regarding a potential local Education Bond measure. The results for this poll have an overall margin of error of +4.4% at the 95% confidence interval. Interviewing was conducted April 23 to 29, 2014. Please contact Ruth Bernstein at ruth@emcresearch.com with any questions.

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