by Andra Verstraete
Thanks to the Guild, I had the privilege of attending the FACCC (Faculty Association of California Community Colleges) Advocacy and Policy Conference in Sacramento on March 3rd and 4th. As a FACCC member, this is a conference I try not to miss. The theme of the conference this year was ACCESS and SUCCESS. For the first time in five years, California Community Colleges can think in terms of growth (or restoration), not cuts. With the passage of Prop 30 comes new money and new proposals – some good, some not so good, such as performance-based funding, strict unit caps, and massive open online courses (to name a few). Conference workshops/topics included budget, accreditation, student success, part-time faculty support, student services and retirement. On Monday, students and faculty took to the streets, marching from Raley Field to the steps of the Capitol. Immediately following the march, thousands of students and faculty invaded the halls of the Capitol, meeting with legislators and staffers. From GCC, John Queen, Tzoler Oukayan, and I accompanied ASGCC students to legislative visits where we discussed the need to restore access, purchasing power, and categorical programs. Our students did a great job lobbying! If you aren’t currently a FACCC member, now is the time to think about joining. There is power in numbers and FACCC has been instrumental is getting candidates elected to the legislature who support community colleges and our mission. The more members involved from GCC, the stronger our presence will be at the state level. Several of our own faculty have served on the FACCC Board of Governors, including John Queen who is currently a member of the Board. For more information on how to join visit www.faccc.org or contact John or me.
Legislative Update: The deadline for introducing new bills was February 22nd. 2,200 bills were introduced, and this is a considerably lower number than years past. There are quite a few legislative proposals that would impact community colleges. Some of the prominent measures introduced are AB 283 (Bloom) which would provide an automatic property tax backfill for community colleges, AB 447 (Williams) which would provide that the student trustee may move and second board motions and participate in closed session except for certain circumstances, and AB 955 (Williams) which would authorize community college districts to offer extension courses for credit during summer and winter intercessions.