Palomar’s Governing Board meeting on Sept. 11 featured a mish-mash of good news and hopeful projections alongside evidence of deep faculty/administration divisions.
Numerous faculty, staff and outside members of the college community addressed the Board during public comment on various matters. Ranging from awards for Superintendent Joi Lin Blake and the college itself, to concerns and frustrations regarding campus culture.
After public comment concluded, the Board continued with the regular agenda items, during which Vice President of Finance Ron Perez presented the proposed budget for the 2018-2019 financial year, which the Board adopted.
In addition, Vice President of Instruction Jack Kahn announced that enrollment numbers for Palomar had risen by just over two percent.
Below are some highlights that came from the meeting in greater detail.
Dr. Blake’s Commendation
Dr. Blake was embraced and presented with a bouquet of flowers from representatives of the North County African American Women’s Association, as she was honored for her role in strengthening Palomar’s message to the community.
The Association is a non-profit organization who support women and girls in North County through various networking events, fundraisers and community activities in an effort to give them the tools necessary for increasing their self sufficiency.
“We are here tonight to pay tribute to Palomar College, and to Dr. Blake for the work that has been happening [these last two years] with our organization,” President Raye Clendening of the Society said. “We would like to present to Dr. Blake a salute to community service from the North County African American Women’s Association.”
Maintenance & Operation Center Award
Palomar College will be receiving an award from Engineering News-Record Magazine for best green project in Southern California.
The magazine reports on the top architects, construction companies and projects of the United States, and around the world. “They are the magazine that construction industry people look to for new ideas,” Director of Facilities Chris Miller said.
“The building was designed as a net-zero building providing 105 percent of its energy consumption,” the magazine wrote. “Once complete the building will become a natural demonstration of the affordability of sustainable design, even within limited budgets.”
Teresa Laughlin presents to the Board on behalf of the Palomar Faculty Federation
Co President Teresa Laughlin, for the Palomar Faculty Federation, addressed the board to express faculty frustration with the lack of transparency and willingness to discuss critical matters in open session.
Laughlin mentioned Board Trustees Halcon and Evilsizer’s attendance at the first Faculty Senate meeting of the semester on Aug. 20, and noted that both seemed receptive to hearing input from faculty. Evilsizer said during this meeting “I’m available as a Board member, call me, write me an email, whatever, but I want to hear from faculty.”
However, Laughlin said over the past several months she has emailed the Board many times regarding important matters to faculty, which was met with just one response from Evilsizer which stated “Hi Teresa, I’ve acknowledged the receipt of your email. Thank you for sharing your concern.”
“This non-responsive response to valid questions is emblematic of the concerns many of our bargaining members are feeling,” Laughlin said. “They are concerned about the lack of transparency, and the lack of discussion by the Board in open session about issues of great importance to them.”
Paul McNamara, President of the Governing Board noted during his report “I appreciate all of the feedback, the Board considers everything that you said. Even if you don’t think we do, we do.” He continued “please send us your remarks, then we usually forward them to appropriate people within the campus for action.”
Lesley Blankenship-Williams dissatisfied with Governing Board Performance, and possible administrative dishonesty
Faculty member Lesley Blankenship-Williams voiced her criticism of the Board in their action to amend Dr. Blake’s contract in the July Governing Board meeting, to include $15,000 annuity. She said that four members of the Board were not doing their due diligence (Nina Deerfield voted no to amending the contract).
Blankenship-Williams noted that members of the Board understood that the annuity would be a one time payment, not an annual one (Blankenship-Williams asserts from a legal standpoint it is annual). Also that several vice presidents echoed this understanding of the annuity being a one time payment.
“But Vice Presidents serve at the pleasure of the President, and administrators might be saying what the President wants them to say,” Blankenship-Williams said. “I suspect that at least some administrators are being forced to choose accuracy, I might even go so far as to say the truth, and their jobs.”
Trustee Nina Deerfield said during her report that the Board will make sure the language of the amended contract will represent the intention.
Adopted Budget for 2018-2019 fiscal year
Perez presented the proposed 2018-2019 fiscal year budget which included the new formula California will be using to allocate funds to its public colleges. Whereas before funds were allocated based completely on Full Time Equivalency Students (FTES) it will now be based off a combination of FTES, low income students and student success.
The new formula will be implemented gradually over the next three years, beginning with 70 percent allocation based on FTES, 20 percent on low income students and 10 percent on student success. The full implementation will take effect during the 2020-2021 fiscal year, where allocation will be based off of the following categories in the amount of 60 percent FTES, 20 percent low income and students success.
Kahn announced during the meeting enrollment numbers were up by two percent from the same date last year (Sept. 11 2017). He also displayed the new data dashboard available on the Institutional Research and Planning webpage, which enables anyone to look at daily updated enrollment numbers for Palomar College.
The new data dashboard will also enable anyone to look at how any particular division, department or subject is doing, along with what type of session is seeing increased enrollment.
Kahn explained the bump in overall enrollment is in part due to to conscientious effort to target heavily impacted classes by offering more courses in that area. One such division is for math, science and engineering, which is up in enrollment by seven percent.
The next scheduled Governing Board meeting is for Oct. 9, more information on the Governing Board agendas and minutes can be found on their webpage at https://www.palomar.edu/governingboard/2018-meeting-materials/