Students should pay attention to board election


Photo credit: Lizette Sainz

Presidential elections are not the only elections happening on Nov. 8, a number of complex items are on the ballot one of those being the board of trustees elections.

Go out and be informed with what is on the ballot that is directly affecting your campus.

Make an educated vote.

It can only change when students get involved and vote.

While students on this campus march from class to class, something they don’t realize is seven trustees, a CEO, and a student trustee all gather to make decisions for you every other Wednesday.

According to Trustees and Superintendent Goals for 2015-16 some of the goals for the board are:

  • Support initiatives that will increase student success, engagement, and completion at Cerritos

  • Monitor construction budgets and timelines/ academic infrastructure

  • Embrace long-term vision for the college that includes engaging the college community in discussing academic excellence and student activities

  • Expand the involvement of the college in community-based activities

  • Implement a partnership between the Foundation and the college

  • Keep the college affordable

  • Keep up the relationships between the Career Technical Education, Business Development, and Workforce Development programs

  • Strengthen and develop K-12 Program

  • Advance the diversity program

  • Strengthen the relationship of the board with each other and CEO.

The members meet on campus at night and discuss topics ranging from new construction projects on campus, to the salaries our professors make..

The latter which caused great turmoil and tension for both the board and the faculty union negotiating a new contract that would compensate faculty better.

Classes would have been cancelled because teachers almost went on strike.

The Cerritos College Faculty Federation had been in a standstill with the board of trustees in hopes of a new contract for over a year.

In fact, many of the teachers were confused as to why it was such a daunting task for the board to address the situation. Many of the teachers were also asking “Who would work without a set contract in place?”

The CCFF coined the phrase “The power of a thank you,” in response to the feeling of neglect it believed it was given at the hands of the board. The phrase was initially posted on signs, but was extended to t-shirts and buttons.

For those of you who follow Talon Marks, we covered the constant rallies and protests of the federation in hopes that a resolution would be agreed upon as soon as possible.

Disrespect is a word that’s used quite frequently when it comes to the board, as often times board members are called out during meetings for being on their cell phones and/or not paying attention to public comments.

According to the teachers, the Sept. 21 meeting was when the board told them a decision on the contract would be agreed upon. However, almost two and a half hours into the scheduled assembly, the teachers were still anxious to know the result.

The decision was not announced until the crowd of red shirts moved right outside the boardroom and chanted, “No contract, no peace! No contract, no peace!”

Even the decision of ratifying the contract didn’t come without hesitation. After 30 minutes of the hour long recess period, board members John Paul Drayer and Sandra Salazar emerged from the chambers saying a decision had already been made.

After everyone returned from the recess, with the exception of board member Carmen Avalos (citing her children), the contract was agreed on and the teachers were sent home happy.

However, this isn’t the only mishap on the hands of the board. With the swift decision-making of Drayer and Salazar coupled with the early exit of Avalos, one could assume the board isn’t as close as some would wish.

When it comes to any governing position, there are going to be a multitude of different opinions and point of views, but when it interferes with basic school decisions, some changes have to be made.

This will only change when people get involved and vote!

Make sure to look up what the board does, attend a meeting or watch a live streaming video on the Cerritos College website.

There are still a few weeks before trustees Marissa Perez, Sandra Salazar, Bob Arthur and Carmen Avalos get re-elected or are replaced. That is half of the board that could change in the coming weeks.

It is plenty of time to help decide the future of the Cerritos campus.

Remember that although they are the decision makers, we get to decide who decides for us.