At the public meeting on Tuesday June 12, in Pleasanton, Begoña Cirera of Chabot College spoke to the CLPCCD board of directors and the public that was in attendance with a strong voice. While her message was simple, the effective mass of her words moved the whole room.
“Today we now know that Governor Jerry Brown took another pay cut, leaving his salary at $165,000. I speak highly of Chabot College, but when I am asked about funding and budget, I have nothing good to say. How can I say anything good in that regard when we have a chancellor that makes over $300,000 every year and a vice chancellor that makes over $200,000 every year?”
The room roared with applause as she filled the atmosphere with simple words that have been thought, but hardly heard. While the final decision of the board that night was to hold off on making any layoffs or a closing of the Child Development Center at Las Positas, the board also needs to look at the salaries of the many administrative staff.
Just scaling back administrative costs five percent could save the district over $100,000, enough to hire extra instructors or buy more than 2300 cases of printer paper. Assumedly administration within the district would balk at such an action; however it is a basic principle of any workplace.
If an employee of Apple doesn’t fulfill his or her job duties, which at times may be daunting, that employee gets let go or in a best-case, doesn’t get a raise in the following quarter. If a student doesn’t complete their work on time, on par or earnestly, that student gets a bad grade. The administration of CLPCCD shouldn’t be exempt from those basic business and accounting principles.
Sure, they could argue that they work long hours and take few vacations, and they would more than likely be telling the truth. But so do students. Students at the community college level often work full-time to support their education and many times take six or more units all at the same time. Some raise families while working towards a degree or certificate, surely that could be as time consuming as balancing a budget, right?
At Tuesday’s budget meeting, Dr. Susan Sperling, Chabot President said “It is our goal to keep cuts as far from students as possible.” While she may have meant it as a gesture that the district is attempting to protect students, the fact is that the administration is cutting costs that are closest to students.
The students of this area deserve better. The local businesses of this area deserve to have an offering of educated employees, able to complete more advanced job tasks. The parents of this area also deserve to see their children grow, learn and accomplish within the walls of higher education.
All of that starts with the leadership of these colleges being accountable for themselves and their responsibilities.
Editors Note: After the meeting, the Board of Trustees decided to remove the child care discussion from the next meetings docket.
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