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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Sylmar

Mission College Forfeits $4.7 Million in State Funds

November 11, 1998|HOLLY EDWARDS

Admitting defeat after a six-year struggle to develop a workable expansion plan, Mission College officials have announced that they cannot meet an end-of-the-year deadline and will forfeit $4.7 million in state funding for the project.

Assemblyman Tony Cardenas (D-Sylmar) said he was "outraged" by the loss of funding, and will demand to know why college officials failed to take action after six years and three state deadline extensions.

"The community needs to know why it lost nearly $5 million in badly needed education money," Cardenas said.

"Was it incompetency, lack of interest, bad decisions, or what happened? And how can we prove to the state that it won't happen again?"

In the college's original expansion proposal, it was to have purchased land occupied by the city-owned El Cariso Golf Course for construction of four classroom buildings and 1,000 additional parking spaces.

Unable to achieve community support for the plan, college officials abandoned the proposal last month and said they would seek property elsewhere for a satellite campus.

However, state finance officials last week rejected Mission College's request to purchase a building for a satellite site.

In a closed session last Wednesday, college officials decided that they could not take action on a property purchase prior to the state-imposed Dec. 30 deadline and would therefore forfeit the state funding.

"It's going to be quite a while before we can reapply for the funding, so we'll probably get a group of community members, students, faculty and staff together in the spring to re-look at our options to expand our campus," said Shari Borchetta, college vice president of administration.

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