From: SBCC Instructors Association

To: ;

Sent: Monday, October 04, 2010 11:13 PM

Subject: Concerning Our Endorsement



Concerning the Endorsement of the IA Executive Board


As a follow-up to last week's Forum for the Candidates in the upcoming Board of Trustees election, your Instructors' Association Executive Board would like to share with you the concerns that led us to the Endorsement, provided earlier this month and re-printed here.


ENDORSEMENT: The Executive Board of the Instructors' Association endorses Peter Haslund, Marty Blum and Marsha Croninger for election to the SBCC Board of Trustees and recommends to those faculty eligible to vote their careful consideration of these candidates. Further the Executive Board, believing that both Kay Alexander and Lisa Macker are well qualified to lead SBCC in a positive direction, support the candidacy of both and urge the faculty's thoughtful consideration.


Your Instructors’ Association Executive Board has a regular opportunity to observe, investigate, and intervene on behalf of faculty across a broad spectrum of college activity.  Members of the Association elect the Board to do just that, relying upon the Executive Board’s best judgment to act in the faculty’s interests.  Over the past two years, the Executive Board has become increasingly concerned by a series of actions on the part of the College administration and the apparent lack of critical oversight on the part of the Board of Trustees.  For example:


When the four Parent Child Workshops had their funded course offering dramatically reduced, Trustees were told that Sacramento would support only limited activities related to parent education. When the IA and the PCW called the Chancellor's Office, we found that this was not the case. Programs similar to ours but far more generous were funded in other Districts. The PCW provided the Trustees with this information but it was ignored.


When the Adult Education program was cut dramatically, the Trustees were given a list of  classes that were to be eliminated because of "new regulations." However when Linda Fairly, former Vice President of Continuing Education, followed up with inquiries on the status of these class offerings, they were found to be completely eligible for state funding. An outraged Ms. Fairly brought this to the attention of the Trustees but no action was taken.


In similar manner, the greatly celebrated and highly successful dual-enrollment music ensembles that join accomplished credit students with experienced and talented non-credit students were deemed inappropriate by the administration based on state regulations.  Again, independent review of state guidelines and contact with the Chancellor’s office found no evidence of such inappropriateness, but there have been no questions raised by the Trustees, even though the new enrollment procedures adopted by the District have actually increased the cost of these programs.


When the District tried to divert Foundation funding for the Center for Sustainability, saying that it was no longer a priority, they were forced by public outcry to restore monies to this highly successful and popular program. Where were the Trustees? Were they unaware of this? Why didn't they follow up on the public outcry and confront the District about this ill-conceived attempt? They should represent the community, not act as apologists for the District.


The board has repeatedly accepted misleading budget figures from the District. Deferred payments were misrepresented: accrual accounting and cash accounting were inappropriately mixed to give a misleading picture of our ending balances. Those knowledgeable in reading financial reports should have picked up on this gross abuse of accounting techniques. However the Trustees – even those with decades of board experience - did not question the numbers they were given.


At the Board meeting of September 23, the Board was asked to vote on the adopted budget. The budget increased the transfer to the equipment fund by $3,700,000. Trustee Alexander asked for an itemization. She said that if money was to be taken away from our student programs, she wanted to know what it was for. There was no itemization! She proposed an amendment to the budget, leaving this money in the General Fund until we had a budget from Sacramento and we could see what choices needed to be made. There was no second to her motion for amendment.


This fall, facing a serious electoral challenge to the incumbent Trustees, the college hired a PR consultant, to be paid $24,000 out of the General Fund. This money could have been used to fund the tutoring hours that had been eliminated in the last budget. In fact, this money would have paid for over two thousand hours of tutoring for our students. The Trustees approved this expenditure without questioning it.


Believing that the Board of Trustees and the President of the College should provide a balance to one another in college decision-making and concerned that our incumbent Trustees have failed to exercise their real authority in this regard, members of the IA Executive Board have concluded that change is necessary. 


For this reason, your IA Executive Board has unanimously decided to endorse the election of long time SBCC colleague Peter Haslund, former Mayor Marty Blum, and Marsha Croninger to the Board of Trustees.  In contrast, given Trustee Kay Alexander’s attempts to hold the administration accountable, the Executive Board has chosen not to endorse either her or challenger Lisa Macker, believing that either candidate, if elected, will serve in the best interests of the SBCC community.  Your IA Board therefore supports the candidacy of both.


We make this recommendation with confidence that all faculty will exercise their voting rights based upon their individual judgment and consideration of the merits of the candidates.


The SBCC Instructors' Association Executive Board: Cornelia Alsheimer, Christopher Bates, Gary Carroll, Mark Ferrer, Tom Garey, Erin O'Connor, Gail Reynolds, Sally Saenger Lynne Elisabeth Stark