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The actual meeting didn’t start until just after the rescheduled (and not changed until mid-last-week..)  “opening” session about 7:15.  Apparently, they’d forgotten to allow for the interviewing they’d planned on doing for the search companies to choose who’d look for a new chancellor to replace their retiring one.  That happened prior to this general special meeting…

The meeting was well attended, but not over-packed as last Dec.  They took public comments from nearly 40 speakers with good concerns, personal sharing and varied input (and lots from the film/V dept at Ox College).  We delivered the nearly 1000 signatured petitions challenging transparency to the board’s massive cuts to programs and classes that were being proposed, requesting them to use some of the excessive emergency funds and to look more thoroughly at where cuts could be made, esp administration that hadn’t been presented as of yet.  The school presidents explained about the program cuts that have been proposed ( & some were removed from the original cuts listing), and those to be cut seemed appropriately chosen for low student interest/attendance, program completion, & needs beyond (college requirements and job availability/needs). The choices seemed to have been well discussed in staff/admin committees, with the departments that had the programs, and with some student input at each site.

Some of the next questions are:

• how much is being cut in administration!?! … and other non-student-learning costs,

• what will the savings be in the proposed program cuts … and new expenses for hiring a search firm…

• how does all this compared to the entire budget, and partial areas within that?

• what savings will be from the cuts to individual classes or “sections”  – in programs that are remaining but being thinned out dramatically, like the VC art dept …

• why can’t they keep the part-time teachers who add such rich diversity.  They seem to be treated only as extra.

The next meeting will be at Ventura High School Auditorium on next Tuesday  Jan. 17th, scheduled for 5:30pm (at least as of now on their website  http://www.vcccd.edu/  …under board of trustees – meetings) … I’ll try to let you know, and will put out any add’l thots about what’s up.   There’ll likely be a vote on the proposed “program” cuts (and hopefully NOT other class cuts that were not discussed??)  … a likely vote on the search company  (which “wouldn’t-it-be-nice-if..”  they put off for a year and saved money sharing that job among other folks)… and a vote on whether to use some of the excessive emergency funds.

Anyway, let’s open this to suggestions, comments, direction… These are very important decisions they have to make in cutting the community colleges’ education budget.  The colleges have been a wonderful support for students (old and young) getting started towards 4-year college studies AND/OR heading (or re-heading) into the work force, educated in fields of interest to them, and as well as great community connectors.

The Trustees seem to be reacting to input, hopefully taking their decision-making more seriously and looking at issues more fully …. Let’s keep the pressure on them.

Write letters to editors, make presentations at board meetings, send the board emails about your concerns:

Steve Blum           sblum@vcccd.edu

Dianne McKay       dmckay@vcccd.edu

Larry Miller            lmiller@vcccd.edu

Art Hernandez       ahernandez@vcccd.edu

Bernardo Perez      bernardo_perez2@vcccd.edu

Thank you for your participation, sharing these issues, and concern.
— kathy johnsen