The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Textbook bill pros and cons

Every three weeks, Associated Students Organization (ASO) student trustee Celina Luna and other members go out to lobby issues that could possibly change the standards of a healthy learning environment here and at the other 109 community college campuses in the state.

Last week, they found themselves with 350 other community college students at the state Capitol for the second time in two months, directing their efforts toward Proposition 98 and the textbook rental bill (AB2678).

Senate, Assembly recognize high textbook prices

Disillusioned by the increasing cost of tuition and the ebbing of student services, students protested Proposition 98, a ballot measure approved by voters in November 1988, and thanked the Assembly and the Senate for their recognition of the high cost of college textbooks.

A new bill being reviewed by the Assembly is AB2678, a textbook rental service that gives students more options when looking for textbooks. This bill is one way the Senate and the Assembly have recognized the increasing cost of college textbooks.

Textbook publishers seem to be publishing new editions more frequently now than ever before causing professors to change textbooks, Luna said.

Many professors don’t require students to use the supplemental material, however some do, and students end up paying outrageous prices, Luna said.

New texbook editions unnecessary

“It’s really funny how some professors enforce the new editions and they say ‘you can’t have that blue book, because I’m teaching out of the red book,” Luna said. “The material is all the same.”

Luna said she believes students are being forced into purchasing new editions that in actuality “don’t change much at all.”

The publishers are changing a paragraph here and there and the new editions end up looking just like the old ones except for a few changes, Luna said.

“The graph moves from this page to that page,” Luna said. “When we went to Sacramento, we brought copies of (different) editions and showed that these come out two years apart and nothing changed except a graph.”

AB2678, is a tightrope issue that focuses on several factors facing the textbook industry and its publishers.

EC bookstore does not support textbook rental bill

Andy Nasatir, assistant director of the EC Bookstore, said the bookstore does not endorse the textbook rental bill and will not volunteeer to affect the service if it pasess. However, it does support another bill, AB2477, which “aims at reducing the amount that students currently pay for textbooks.”

Nasatir said that the bookstore would be in a quagmire, because they wouldn’t own the books through AB2678.

“Instead, it would work like a lease,” Nasatir said, “so you end up paying a lot of money and you don’t own (the books) and you wind up having to give the books back.”

There are also conditions to this bill; students have to keep the books in good shape and that makes it difficult, Nasatir said.

“The adoption policy needs to be of a certain level of time to make it worthwhile,” Nasatir said. “What happens is the college has to buy all of these books and in order to keep the cost down to students in the rental, the books need to be adopted for a certain number of years, usually three years or four years.”

Nasatir also said that another factor that makes AB2678 difficult is the initial start-up money that can be very expensive. Nasatir said that the institution, for example EC, usually would have to come up with the start-up money on their own.

Another issue addressed by ASO was Proposition 98, which states that community colleges are to receive 11 percent of property tax revenues.

However, community colleges have been consistently under funded since the inception of the proposition, Luna said.

“If we had our fair share, we wouldn’t run into this problem of classes and counseling services being cut,” she said. “Right now you’re still continually having to pay more for less services.”

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