Monday, March 31, 2014

The March meeting of the SOCCCD BOT: sunshined contract for the glowing greenies

Board Pres. Prendergast
     See Tere's Board Meeting Highlights
     It's 6:02 and there's no sign yet of the trustees. More in a minute.
     Earlier today, Chancellor Poertner sent out an invite to the district community to attend the upcoming BOARD FORUMS. These forums will be special, evidently, cuz administrators and managers aren't supposed to show, allowing employees to "speak freely." Something like that.
     I don't think that's gonna work. Employees, especially classified, are pretty scared at IVC. In any case, the turnout at IVC will be shitty as always. Meanwhile, at Saddleback, the usual suspects will line up to explain that they're "pleased as punch" about things at the college. Golly, we just "count our lucky stars" each day, they'll say.
     I noticed that two instructors will receive recognitions tonight: one from Saddleback, the other from IVC. And they're both named Pestolesi. Obviously, we've been infiltrated by the Cosa Nostra.
     Things are jumping tonight at the Ronnie Reagan meeting hall cuz the faculty union has encouraged members to show up with glowing green shirts (emblazoned with "faculty united") to support the contract. I wasn't sure how to regard this fluorescent crew as I passed through them into the hall. They studied me in silence. I smiled awkwardly. I don't seem to share their chirpy, glowing spirit.
     6:08: aha! Gary Poertner just showed up. Now Prendergast and Jemal have entered the room. Meanwhile, the union crowd is still caterwauling in the back of the room. Yackety-yak.
     Wright and Jay have joined the others. Lang too. Where are Nancy and Marcia?
     Looks like between 20 and 30 glowing green faculty are in the room, giving it a faint lurid cast; and they're yuckin' it up pretty good back there. There's Nancy! The show will begin any minute now.
     6:14. There's Marcia!
     6:15: A silence falls over the room. It begins. Actions taken in closed session: Marcia: 7/0 vote for unpaved unpaid leave of absence for faculty member at SC. --That's it.
     Paderg offers an invocation: "Dear Lord..." She mentions Washington State and that lost Indian Ocean plane, I think.

     Public comments:

     Paula Jacobs: Faculty are here in support of the "sunshine proposal." Introduces negotiators: Lewis Long, Bill Billingsly, somebody, Susan Bliss, Jenny L, Teresa S, Samantha V. Applause.
     Blake Stevens (?): I'm here as dept. chair. Back in 2009, we renegotiated chair compensation. Still waiting for that. He's joined by four or five faculty.
     A part-time faculty member speaks: we're concerned about student success, she says. I have several students who are veterans. One came to me and discussed his failing assignments. He told me his story. He has PTSD. He broke into tears. Haven't seen him since.
     She makes a plea for equal access to faculty for all students. (I think this is about more office space for part-timers.)
     Next: resolutions. Marcia calls up Denise I., 2013 district service manager employee of the year. Marcia reads the resolution, which is pretty detailed. Gary P seems enthusiastic about this; he's got a skip in his step. Marcia mentions this gal's "contagious laugh." Outstanding to this district, she says. Roll call vote of trustees. Marcia shouts her "Aye" into the mike, waking everybody up (me anyway). Gary: she's a wonderful person to work with. Her work is of a high quality, and everybody loves her. --Her husband is told to stand. Applause. Photograph. Applause. Denise is cool: she sits right down. Thank you, Denise.
     Roquemore and Burnett come up to honor the Pestolesi couple. Evidently, Mr. "Pesto" was recognized by the U of Hawaii, and so he'll now be recognized for that recognition. Roquemore fumbles with some Hawaian lingo. Tom ("Pesto") helps out and they manage a few laughs together. They're a comedy team. Tom has led the Lasers to state championships in volleyball, says Glenn. Congrats to Tom. Glenn hands him a shitty little document. Glenn next hands Tom a "warrior paddle," lined with shark teeth, given to him by the folks in Hawaii. Several waves of applause.
     Next, Diane P comes up, an altogether more sober soul, it seems, and Burnett goes into overdrive. Yes, these two are married, he says. Diane is a nursing professor. She too got some recognition from the U of Hawaii. (Go figure!) She was on the national championship team in volleyball back in her Hawaii years. Her various honors are listed. Her document is also shitty, but it has a spiffy red border. Photo op. More photos. More palaver.
     Burnett refuses to sits down. Now he recognizes the Saddleback College "Wall," a literary journal. It got a prize from some national group. (Of course, IVC used to have an award-winning journal--the Ear--but it died from lack of support.) The editor-in-chief comes up: he has a difficult Russian name. Others are pointed out in the crowd: various editors. Lots of applause. Big photo op.  The faculty advisor insists on speaking, offers up several "thank you's."

     Board Reports:

     Bill Jay: I'm really pleased that you presented your sunshine package today. I hope things go well. It's difficult [for us], because board members are "stuck right in the middle." I encourage everybody to work hard on negotiation. (Bill's an old union dog. He occasionally barks and howls. Then it's back to sleep, unless someone mentions a stadium.)
     Tim Jemal: "there's nothing wrong with what you said," retorts Jemal (in response to Jay's remark that he'll get into trouble for saying that union stuff). Refers to a trip to Washington, D.C. Presentation of technology tools used to increase student success. 52 Attendees. We put a powerful face forward. We're putting ourselves in a position to receive funding, recouping costs. Also attended Life Science Building opening. (I've gotta say: this Jemal fella is working out fine. He's nothing like ol' Sleepy or Grumpy or Benedict A.)
     Marcia Milchiker: we do great work in this district: great faculty, classified staff, et al. Wants to thank everyone who sent messages when "my mom passed away." Mom took all of the Emeritus classes. She loved poetry, played piano. Marcia attended SC Senior Day. The Wall is the #1 literary magazine in the nation, she chirps. Imagine that! She did the zip line with the Boy Scouts somewhere. (Everyone paused to visualize this alleged zip lining that Marcia does all over the globe.)
     Nancy Padberg: attended Life Sciences Bldg. dedication. The art was amazing! A beautiful building. Toured SC automotive program. Crank cases and such.
     TJ Prendergast: also attended Life Sciences Bld. dedication. Gold certification. Countertops made of pressed paper and epoxy. Tiles: recycled materials. Really impressive technology and design. Created a very artistic structure. I share "The Wall" all the time with colleagues at work. People are amazed by the quality of the work.
     James Wright: I attended a number of events, including a SC basketball game. Attended veterans program at SC. Well-attended: 40-50 students. Every day there are 22 suicides of veterans! Attended college-wide forum. Very well done. Life Science Bld. opening. Congrats IVC and SC for their debate teams. Both have received honors.
     Dave Lang: dedication of the new building at IVC. Kathy Schmeidler provided a "personal tour." Very impressive. Audit meeting. We are blessed with "incredible financial talent" in this district, he says. (I think he was referring to himself.) Thanks Paula Jacobs for explanation of shirts: no, not Irish soccer team.
     Student Trustee David Robinson: agrees with notion that we need space for part-time faculty to meet with students. Item 6.12--thanks for leadership for recognition... smoke-free district. (A new smoking policy will be brought forward tonight.) Consider the health and safety of students. Adopt this item. (That got 'im some applause from the greenies in the audience. A rare sign of life!)

     Chance. Gary Poertner: tonight, more of our ongoing presentation of what's being done for student success. Tonight, an IVC report about basic skills writing and math, ESL pathways to success. 2nd report: financial aid, requested by Marcia M.
     IVC Prez Glenn Roquemore: re the dedication (of the Life Sciences Bldg). It used to be 10 years between buildings. More frequent now. Thanks for your support. New format for high school senior day. Over 2000 students attended. This year, we focused on workshops.
     SC Prez Tod Burnett: Foundation gala coming up in two weeks. Get your tickets. Entrepreneurship competition at UCI. OC Career pathways partnership...blah blah blah. Active Shooter incident exercise with law enforcement at SC. Simulation and training. The exercise received national attention. (Tod loves when that happens.)

     Board requests for reports: one from Dave Lang: OPEB trust fund management. Unanimously approved.

Hey, a board policy demands it!
Discussion item 4.1: data-validated approaches to fostering student success. IVC faculty come up for this.
     Four faculty: but Kathy Schmeidler introduces three faculty.
     Summer: Acceleration at IVC, pre-college writing. Started in the Fall of 2012, part of the Cal Acceleration Project. Piloted two experimental classes. A completely different style of teaching. College level right from the start. The students go forward with work, are assisted by workshops along the way. Addressing stress, anxiety, unfamiliarity with college culture. Shows photos of students in class activities. We do have early data re success rate. 82% of accelerated students passed the class (in one semester). Compare that to control: 52%. Also tracked students who went on to take Writing 1. Very successful. IVC has shared its program nationwide.
     Lan Pham was supposed to show up to explain similar program in math. But he hasn't showed, so Kathy explains the one math slide. The data are similar to what Summer presented re writing, says Kathy. A great success here too.
     Jeff Wilson and Rebecca Beck come up to explain ESL efforts. ESL courses parallel the English basic skills courses. There are seven levels, and students can progress through them during the year. Students are reassessed each semester. Students who can progress quickly are not hindered. The focus is on "Academic English."
     Kathy: "don't I have fantastic colleagues?" Applause. K discusses common threads in the three programs. Any questions?
     Marcia M: excellent presentation. Marcia explains what happens to your brain when you learn a new language. (It was a bit creepy.) Who are these ESL students? Which countries are they coming from? Etc.
     Jeff: yes, you delay Alzeimers by five years by learning a language. Many are from Iran. I also get people from Ukraine, Africa, Spain, Korea, China, etc. Age? Huge cross section. Rebecca: I had a 92 year old student recently. Pretty diverse group in Irvine compared to other areas.
     Applause. The presentation was a success.

4.2: financial aid services report. (Requested by Marcia M.)

     Linda Fontanilla, VP of SS at IVC, speaks. Joined by Christian Alvarado (from SC) and Ruth Higgins, acting Financial Aid director at IVC.
     Financial aid goes back to Johnson Administration, 1964. Part of "Great Society" legislation. Application used (FAFSA).
     Alvarado and Higgins: presenting overview. Higgins reviews the process. Blah blah blah.
     Pell grants: $5,646 maximum.
     Federal student loans:
     Subsidized: max $4500
     Unsubsidized: Max $6000
     Work Study, etc.
     Next: state financial aid. Blah blah blah. BOG (Board of Governors) waver, Cal grants, Chafee grants.
     These folks are reading their presentations. Pretty dry. Less than compelling.
     Then: institutional aid: i.e., scholarships.
     They present "cost of attendance," with community colleges once again revealed to be a bargain.
Blah, blah, blah
     Chart with applications vs. recipients. Increasing tremendously over four years.
     Re default rates: IVC and SC are below national averages. We don't encourage students to borrow, so that occurs at a low rate.
     Blah blah blah.
     Finally it comes to an end. Pretty freakin' dry, man.
     Jemal: what's the percentage of students on some form of financial aid? Answer: around 30%. Usually a Board of Governors fee waver. (Nancy seems to be giving Jemal flak for asking questions. What's that about?)
     Jemal: so we discourage students from seeking student loans? He got a mixed answer. Jemal is concerned about saddling students with loans with high interest rates. Glad to hear we don't steer students in that direction, he says eventually.
     Marcia: mentions her involvement in scholarship programs outside the district. Happy to learn about our financial aid department at the colleges. How many years are BOG wavers available to students? Cal Grants limited to four years. Do you tell students to wait until later to pursue theser? She had lots of questions.
     Alvarado: no time limit on BOG fee wavers. On the other hand, students who go on academic probation, starting in Fall, will lose BOG. Yes, if they use up the money for Cal Grants at CC, they can't use that later. Just four years. Etc. Marcia seemed satisfied. She too is glad that we don't have lots of students getting loans.
     In the end, the presentation seemed successful, mostly owing to the Q & A.

     Consent calendar: 5.1, 5.10, 5.14 pulled by Wright. Anything else? No. Voted on Consent Calendar: unanimous.

5.1: need of a mere clerical correction. Approved unanimously.
5.10: technicality: "life sciences" typo. Approved unanimously.
5.14: why have prices gone up so much? Fitzsimmons explains. Brandye mysteriously appears at the "podium." She's quite magical. And she's pretty damned cheerful. Lang: shouldn't we quit this vendor given this increase? Brandye: no, not an increase. It's an increase in quantity (of waste). Everybody's happy, and Brandye magically disappears.

6.1: public hearing. Temporary adjournment. IVC Lighting Retrofit for "Roadways, Walksways, and Parking lots project, energy service contract." Good grief. D Fitzsimmons rattles through some stuff, but it's too painful to think about. Any questions? No. Meeting now OPEN. Any public comments. OF COURSE NOT. (Oh, the bovinity!) Now closed.

6.2: resolution energy services contract .... Passes unanimously.

6.3 (the last of the light retrofit stuff). There's a replacement page. Brandye magically appears again, stage right. Two small corrections made. They go forward with vote: unanimous.

6.4 CCCT board of directors elections. Any nominations? Wright mentions 8 he voted for. Any objection to nominating these 8? Lang offers his list, which is somewhat different. Never heard of any of these people. Inside baseball. Padberg moves to accept Lang's list, which has two differences from Wright's. Jay seconds. They vote: unanimous. (What was that all about?)

6.5: they vote to pay Milchiker for missed meeting. They always do that. If you're gonna be hinky, you should do it quickly, sans fanfare.

6.6: unanimous.

6.7: another change order re IVC Life Sciences Bldg. Unanimous.

6.8: SC technology equipment, etc. Unanimous.

6.9: Agreement to purchase HP computers, etc. Unanimous.

6.10: server and storage replacement: unanimous

6.11: life science bldg notice of completion. Unanimous.

6.12: board policy revisions: Kathy Schmeidler asks to speak: re BP 180 ("BE CIVIL!'"), proposed policy re "respectful interactions". When it came to IVC academic senate... In our opinion, this does not belong as a board policy. Can be used to squelch discussion. A second paragraph was added, but we still rejected this as a BP.  Yes, we approve of this process whereby review of policies goes through the various units, etc. No problem with that. But we do wish to say that we continue to believe that this should be a motto or something, not a bp. I've been asked to make this statement as clearly as I can.
     Jemal: what's the impetus for putting this on now? A: Review and study. Fitzsimmons: minority opinion by IVC Academic Senate. Other groups did support this.
     Padberg: perhaps make modification. Perhaps we should apply this to board members. Response: already applies to them. Nancy: perhaps so. She reads it as "we're directing." Fitz: that was the intent, that it covers the trustees too.
     Student trustee Robinson: brings up smoking again. Supports new policy on that. A step forward.
     Jemal: no policies on cash handling? Fitz: no.
     Prendergast: On the smoking policy. Prendergast mentions that something other than tabacco can be put in "electronic cigarettes." Fitz: it's the device, not the content, that's regulated. Oh.
     The vote: unanimous.

     6.13: Emeritus institute. Reorganization. Wright has some questions: how come? Really no costs? Clearly there will be new costs.
     Burnett: we meant no cost to the general fund. Didn't mean to say no cost. Those costs would happen anyway. We're increasing our partnerships with K-12. AB86 mandate. Burnett uses the word "synergy" several times, and so I'm tuning out. Gotta do this to keep Emeritus strong, says Burnett. (Gosh, he said "synergy" again.) Wright pursues line that this new dean has a much smaller workload compared to other deans. Burnett: nope, it's huge. Wright continues to be the board contrarian, but that's probably a good thing. They vote: Wright is the only "no" vote.

6.14: Faculty union proposed contract. Accepting for review and study. vote unanimous. (The green people--the remnant, anyway--now exit the building.)

Quietly peevish
6.15: Academic personnel actions. Lang: this deals with the effects of the reorganization (Emeritus?)--upgrade to dean. Vote: unanimous.

6.16: Classified personnel actions. No requests to speak: unanimous.

6.17: Sabbatical rescinded. Approved.

Reports: 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4-- no comments

Lang: you got Scott Lay to speak at commencement (he asks Roquemore)? Good choice.

7.4: Lang: substantial drop in IVC reserve balance. Is Davit (IVC Budget dude) here? What's that about? Use of matching capital improvement funds was one thing cited. Fitz comments on behalf of IVC: two factors. Local match for basic aid. Also: positions funded owing to enrollment growth. Lang: non-resident tuition is significantly up? Roquemore: about 700 right now. Will that counterbalance? Yes.

Governance groups reports:

     SC Ac Senate: blah blah blah. Happy about consideration of smoke-free policy. Will attend state academic senate plenary.
     Faculty Association (union): 5,6, and 7% increases in faculty salaries across the state. She mentions that she has green shirts for trustees. They're not exactly jumping for joy.
     IVC Ac Senate: yes, we'll be sending reps to state academic senate plenary too. Etc. Also supports tobacco ban.
     --I'm outa here.


Anonymous said...

So what ever happened to Helen? In the mean time her daughter was awarded Saddleback's classified employee of the year and there's no mention.

Anonymous said...

Giselle voted classified employee of the year - YGBSM!!!

In "an FBI zone"

     Got home late last night. There were two messages on my phone answering machine.       One was from the FBI. On the recording, a ...