This was the second, and last trustee who gave comments responding to faculty and the students, Trustee Birkey. Trustee Birkey gave his comments on April 20th’s faculty senate to clear up some concerns faculty and students had regarding COLA+. Photo credit: Samuel Chacko
This was the second, and last trustee who gave comments responding to faculty and the students, Trustee Birkey. Trustee Birkey gave his comments on April 20th’s faculty senate to clear up some concerns faculty and students had regarding COLA+. Photo credit: Samuel Chacko

Last board meeting of the semester

April 21, 2022

Before the board meeting took place, there was an informational picket on the corner of Alondra and Studebaker from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The board meeting took place at 7 p.m. and picketing participants went to view the board meeting and voice their opinion.

As usual, the comments from the faculty and students were the strongest part of the board meeting.

The first person who spoke during the board meeting was Irlanda Lopez, California School Employees Association president.

This is the image of the first speaker, Irlanda Lopez, who is the California School Employees Association (CSEA) President, who spoke on April 20th.
This is the image of the first speaker, Irlanda Lopez, who is the California School Employees Association (CSEA) President, who spoke on April 20th. She also brought her kid with her and spoke at the last faculty senate meeting regarding COLA+ and the union’s negotiations. Photo credit: Samuel Chacko

“I would like to have my son home for future board meetings but I think the way things are going, we’re going to be here on a nightly basis,” said Irlanda Lopez “We need to be able to know that they can provide food on the table to their families that they can pay for gas to go to work – We’re not here to be greedy, we just want our cost of living to go up [based on inflation].”

 

Sam Shabbot, a student from the college explained that he utilized tons of office hours because of his disability and he was in full support of paid office hours.

 

“Please grant them the COLA, it’s really important for them and it’s important for me as a student to know that the faculty that are teaching me are taking care of,” Shabbot said.

At April 20th's faculty senate meeting, Henrietta Hurtado, who is the Chicano Studies Chair, gave her comments in support of COLA+ and CCFF.
At April 20th’s faculty senate meeting, Henrietta Hurtado, who is the Chicano Studies Chair, gave her comments in support of COLA+ and CCFF. Photo credit: Samuel Chacko

Henrietta Hurtado, who is the Chicano Studies Chair, also showed her support for CCFF and COLA+. Hurtado constantly said, “faculty working conditions are student learning conditions,” which was a theme for all of the comments that were heard and repeated by the audience and many of the speakers.

Anna DeMichelle, who is a full time faculty member who is the Chair of the Department of Music, started her speech by saying, “Given the current circumstances, I can no longer stay silent. I am extremely disappointed and somewhat offended that the district will not be in good faith with the Cerritos College Faculty Federation (CCFF).”

“The district’s negotiation team and Dr. Fierro will assure you that the one (and only) economic package is more appropriate. This inflation that we’re experiencing is crippling and ongoing,” said April Bracamontes CCFF Vice President.

Bracamontes also gave examples of other schools giving faculty raises, “El Camino got a 7.2% and Rio Honda got COLA +1 and last year … LBCC got 4.2%, these are our cohorts.”

These are the few comments that we’re shared and there were about 20 public comments submitted.

Before Trustee President Birkey gave his statement Ms. Rosenblatt asked that the current ASCC President and Vice President share a few words, President Birkey denied the request due to being unaware they had planned to speak which was later overruled by tustee Perez.

“The Board of Trustees gave themselves a 10 percent raise over the last three years,” shared ASCC president Sandra Lucio, “The Board of Trustees approved a bonus for the president. The district had a budget surplus of over $10 million last fiscal year and rejected to have another surplus over 5 million this fiscal year adding to the 42 million in unspent reserves.”

In response, trustee Birkey outlined that there were a number of factual errors in some of the material, and a number of errors in the way in which certain points had been made both tonight and at other times.

Birkey did not elaborate or clarify what these errors were.

“The truth is that we care dearly and we have been fair and reasonable,” Birkey said, “We agreed to provide the faculty and their dependents with 100 percent healthcare coverage … and we also gave $6000 stipends … regardless of whether they were part-time or not.”

This is a picture of Trustee Perez, who gave comments responding to the faculty and students' concerns at April 20th's board meeting. While she was talking, there was a rain of boos and chants while she was speaking.
This is a picture of Trustee Perez, who gave comments responding to the faculty and students’ concerns at April 20th’s board meeting. While she was talking, there was a rain of boos and chants while she was speaking. Photo credit: Samuel Chacko

“Our faculty salary benefits have remained close to the top of the list among similar districts,” trustee Perez said, “we have remained at the bargaining table.”

Those were the only two trustees who had a comment and was rained with boos and people chanting lies while they were speaking.

While it’s a he said, she said, the only thing we can do is wait and see if there will be any positive updates.

About the Writer
Photo of Samuel Chacko
Samuel Chacko, Editor in Chief
Samuel Chacko is the Editor in Chief for Talon Marks and covers sports, politics, news, community and opinions. Sam enjoys playing video games, is an avid sports fan (UFC, MLB, NBA, NFL and Boxing) and music. Sam hopes to transfer to a Cal State in 2024 and work for a prestigious Journalism outlet one day.

If you have any news tips or want to talk to Samuel via Zoom, contact [email protected].

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