Community College Districts Secure Funding: FMM&A Survey Research Helps California Community College Districts Secure Billions In Local Funding In November 4th Election Despite Historic Economic Crisis

Posted on: November 18, 2008

FMM&A Survey Research Helps California
Community College Districts Secure Billions in Local Funding
in November 4th Election Despite Historic Economic Crisis

After the November 4th election the media has focused on the Presidential contest and high profile statewide ballot propositions, but an important story is not being reported. Despite an electoral environment with the worst economic conditions in generations, California voters approved local finance measures providing billions of dollars for California Community College Districts.  Many are wondering how these measures passed as the economy moved toward a recession, banks failed, unemployment rates rose, a home foreclosure crisis worsened, and millions saw retirement savings wiped out after the stock market plummeted?

For over 25 years, Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates (FMM&A) a public opinion research firm specializing in passing local finance measures, has helped California’s Community Colleges secure funding for upgrades and construction to improve the quality of education they provide.  The November 4th election once again demonstrates that FMM&A continues to be the industry leader as 100 percent of our community college clients successfully passed their bond measures, raising $4 billion.  This includes helping the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) pass its third bond measure, raising nearly $5.7 billion since 2001.

In total, FMM&A research services and strategic consulting has helped California’s Community College Districts secure nearly $14 billion through local finance measures since 1992.  By using a foundation of public opinion research with a proven track record of success, FMM&A has been able to work with California’s community colleges to craft ballot measures that obtain voter approval despite adverse external factors, including the current economic turmoil.  FMM&A research on community colleges continues to show that voters regard these local institutions as essential for several reasons.

  • Public Safety – Community colleges are essential to local public safety as they are primary sources for training local police officers, firefighters, paramedics and nurses.
  • Quality Affordable Education – The increasing cost of four-year colleges and universities has more Californians looking to their community college for a high quality education that allows them to earn credits at an affordable cost and transfer to a four-year university.
  • Career Training – In a highly competitive job market, community colleges are increasingly seen as offering valuable career development programs to help local workers seek to upgrade their skills, retrain, or earn certificates that will help them get better paying jobs.

Understanding that every community is unique, FMM&A specifically tailors its research to each community college.  For example, in this election cycle all of our community college clients were seeking a second or even third general obligation bond measure and our research helped these Districts effectively communicate why additional funding was needed.  Additionally, unique aspects of our research included as the emerging “green industry” continues to grow and community colleges seek to emphasize energy efficiency, FMM&A’s research is helping community colleges communicate to the public how a local finance measure can help train workers for this new sector of the economy and reduce energy costs to save taxpayer dollars. As part of our research, FMM&A helped LACCD develop messaging on the use of solar panels to become energy independent, environmentally-friendly building practices, water recycling and the reduction of carbon emissions.  For Mt. San Antonio Community College research, FMM&A helped the college understand and target its messaging to a diverse electorate that includes conservative voters and a rapidly growing Latino population.

In addition to securing revenue through ballot measures, FMM&A is working with California’s community colleges to improve recruitment and enrollment by conducting research to better understand which programs prospective students are most interested.  Our firm’s research services are serving as the basis for community colleges to develop outreach and media communications programs to educate the public about the opportunities local community colleges provide and attract students to their campuses.  FMM&A recently conducted this type of research for LACCD, and within the first several months of the outreach programs enrollment at the district’s nine colleges has increased significantly.

Whether your goal is to pursue funding through a ballot measure; better understand the needs and priorities of the community; increase the public’s awareness of the college and/or specific programs to prospective students; or create outreach programs to improve recruitment and enrollment, FMM&A has the experience and record to design and implement an effective research program.   If you are interested in obtaining additional information about FMM&A please contact John Fairbank at (310) 828-1183 or via email at or Dave Metz at 510-451-9521 or via email at  Our firm takes great pride in working with California’s Community College Districts and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss how public opinion research can benefit your district.


The following is a list of FMM&A community college district clients that have passed local finance measures:

November 2008:

Los Angeles CCD $3.5 billion
Mt. San Antonio CCD $350 million
Southwestern CCD $389 million

November 2006:

College of the Canyons $160 million
College of the Sequoias $22 million
Southwestern CCD $870 million


November 2004:

Yosemite CCD $326 million
West Valley Mission CCD $235 million
Chabot-Las Positas CCD $498 million
Gavilan Joint CCD $108 million
Rio Hondo CCD $245 million
San Joaquin Delta CCD $300 million

May 2003:

Los Angeles CD $22 million

November 2002:

Coast CCD $370 million
Compton CCD $100 million
San Diego CCD $685 million
El Camino CCD $394.5 million
Grossmont-Cuyamaca CCD $207 million
Hartnell CCD $131 million
Kern CCD $180 million
Napa Valley CCD $133.8 million
Rancho Santiago CCD $337 million
State Center CCD $161 million

March 2002:

Butte-Glenn CCD $84.9 million
Contra Costa CCD $100 million
Fremont-Newark CCD $150 million
Glendale CCD $251 million
Sonoma County CCD $160 million

April 2001:

Los Angeles CCD $1.2 billion

November 2000:

Southwestern CCD $89.3 million

November 1992:

Santa Monica CCD $23 million