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Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

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Peralta Board of Trustees Brief 2/13: city grant for childcare centers; BCC hires MESA director; Measure H endorsement

Facilities item tabled to January yet to appear on agenda
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(Graphic: Li Khan, Desmond Meagley/The Citizen)

The Peralta Community College District (PCCD) Board of Trustees held its second regular meeting of the year Jan. 13. Topics on the meeting’s agenda included new grant funding for childcare centers and the hiring of a new director for the Berkeley City College’s Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement Program.

The meeting did not include discussion of soliciting vendors for a third-party facilities assessment, an item discussed back in November that trustees voted to “table” until January 2024. The item has yet to appear on the agenda this year.

Consent Calendar

A slew of various consent calendar items on the agenda included the ratification of a grant agreement between the City of Oakland Head Start and PCCD for Laney and Merritt College child care centers for over $435,000. Funding will pay for the district to continue providing educational child care services as well nutrition and health services to Peralta families.

The board approved an additional $100,000 contract with Bay Area News Group to provide online ads for enrollment for the 2024 spring and summer semesters. This amendment is an addition to PCCD’s $40,000 advertising contract with Bay Area News Group from the Fall 2023 semester.

A $64,000 contract with Johnson Controls Fire Protection for repairs and inspections of fire alarms and related system items across the four colleges and district was approved.

Armando Franco, former Access to College Equity (ACE) Manager for Huckleberry Youth Programs in the Bay Area, was hired as Director of the newly launched Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) program at Berkeley City College. MESA is a statewide initiative with the goal of helping “underrepresented” populations pursue careers in STEM.

The consent calendar is a set of items and contracts grouped categorically for board approval during meetings. All items on the consent calendar are approved in one motion, unless a trustee requests to pull an item for discussion and vote separately.

Action Items

The board approved a two-year term for Cole Sexton as the new student member of the Bond Measures Oversight Committee, an independent committee that reports how the district is spending bond funds to the public. Sexton listed former PCCD Trustee Linda Handy as a reference in his application.

The board voted to endorse the Berkeley School Excellence Program, which is up for renewal under Measure H in the March primary election. The program is a special local tax to fund Berkeley public schools.

Former PFT President addresses working conditions

Jennifer Shanoski, former President of the Peralta Federation of Teachers (PFT 1603) and current chemistry faculty at Merritt College, spoke during public comment about her transition back into teaching, and the concerns she’s had about classroom conditions. 

Shanoski, along with current PFT President Jeff Sanceri, both described the state of PCCD’s working conditions, citing unkempt facilities, cut classes, and overloaded classrooms.

Public safety director placed on leave

In her report to the board, Chancellor Tammeil Gilkerson stated that she placed Executive Director of Public Safety Tim Thomas on “leave pending his resignation.”

“Mr. Thomas is dealing with two legal matters: one involving his work with the district and one personal to him,” Gilkerson said. “While on leave, Mr. Thomas can focus on these matters.”

New facilities assessment RFQ still not on agenda

In July 2022, construction consulting firm High Performance Learning Environments (HPLE) was awarded a $904,290 contract, which included over $335,000 for “facilities conditions assessments,” with a “summary report and presentation” set to be delivered between February and April of 2023. The contract also included over $248,000 for “utilities conditions assessments,” and $320,000 for “facilities related professional services for the Department of General Services.”

HPLE was chosen through an “iRFP” bidding process, also called an Informal Request for Proposals.

At a Nov. 14, 2023 meeting, the board discussed an agenda item that, if approved, would “direct the chancellor” to solicit vendors for a third-party facilities assessment, using a bidding process called an RFQ, or Request for Qualifications.

Former Interim Chancellor Jannett Jackson said during the November meeting that the district conducted an “informal RFQ, RFP process” in Fall 2022, and had already identified “external” vendors that “had not worked with the district before.”

“They’ve already started on the assessment of our (sic) condition of our facilities,” Jackson said. She added that the scope of work could be changed to include prioritizations, recommendations or a timeline.

After discussion, the board approved a motion to table the item until the January board meeting.

However, the item has not appeared on the agendas of the Jan. 23 or Feb. 13 board meetings.

At the Dec. 12 board meeting, Interim Vice Chancellor of General Services Atheria Smith gave a presentation entitled “facilities assessment by a third party” that covered a brief update of facilities conditions assessments conducted by HPLE and Intelligent Systems and Engineering Services, also called ISES.

When asked about the status of the facilities assessment item, Mark Johnson, Executive Director of Marketing, Communication and Public Relations, pointed to the district’s recent changes in leadership.

“Since the original agenda item was first proposed and tabled, we have new district leadership including a new permanent chancellor with Dr. Tammeil Gilkerson and a new president of the governing board with Paulina Gonzalez-Brito,” Johnson told The Citizen in an email. “That item was not prioritized by the new leadership in January or for the February 13th meeting.”

The item is not present on the agenda for the next board meeting, which will be held Feb. 27, and will be streamed live on YouTube.

About the Contributor
Ivan Saravia
Ivan Saravia, Staff Writer
Ivan Saravia was born in Berkeley and lived his whole life in San Leandro. He is a freshman at Peralta, with strong ambitions of becoming a writer. Ever since he was in elementary school, he’s had a deep fascination and desire to understand all the little nuances in language and communication. In his free time nowadays he loves writing and deciphering music, especially artists like Fiona Apple, Bob Dylan, and Lou Reed. As the child of an extremely prideful Oakland Native, it was a given at some point in his life he would end up attending an Oakland School. He’s always had a great love and appreciation for what he considers his “second home,” and would be deeply proud to serve the community of Oakland. He is beyond excited to be a part of this publication and learn as much as he can from his peers and this given opportunity.
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