Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
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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Board bears down on budget at 6/11 meeting

District faces $11.2 million deficit
PCCD+offices.+%28Photo%3A+Li+Khan%2FThe+Citizen%29
PCCD offices. (Photo: Li Khan/The Citizen)

While most students of the Peralta Community College School District (PCCD) enjoyed a much needed summer vacation, the Board of Trustees got busy with tackling a tentative budget proposal for the following fiscal year. The meeting saw a low turnout with no public comment.

Tentative budget reveals gaps

The district is facing a $11.2 million budget gap for the upcoming fiscal year.

Outgoing Interim Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration, Nathaniel Jones III, presented the board with the district’s tentative budget, covering expense and revenue projections and updates to the state budget.

According to Jones, the district’s $175.1 million expenses surpasses its $163.9 million general fund revenue, resulting in the $11.2 million deficit.

To close the gap, the budget seeks to take advantage of temporary salary and benefit savings through a $6.1 million hiring freeze on vacant positions. This would cut back on labor costs, without leading to widespread layoffs or reduction of hours and pay, Jones said.

The district will establish “budget reduction teams” to save $2.14 million through a variety of strategies, such as renegotiating existing contracts or consolidating vendors.

The remaining $3 million in cuts will be divided among the district’s five main sites: district offices and the four colleges.

Laney College would take on the largest amount of reductions at $894,431, followed by the district offices at $577,918, Merritt College at $538,157, College of Alameda (CoA) at $511,447 in funding, and Berkeley City College (BCC) at $478,048.

Earlier in the meeting, Matthew Goldstein, the President of the District Academic Senate, reflected on the budgeting process in his routine report for the board.

He thanked district officials for improving shared governance processes, allowing faculty and staff more opportunities to give input on the budget. Lack of opportunity for input was an issue raised by faculty earlier in the school year.

Still, Goldstein argued that the cuts were “not proportionate.”

“The district, which gets the same amount of resources as Laney or less, is only contributing as much as the small colleges,” Goldstein said.

Jones responded to Goldstein’s remarks in his presentation. 

”Let me tell you, it’s fair,” Jones said. “What we did was agree on a particular methodology and apply it to all locations.”

The board will vote on the final budget in September.

New face for CoA

Incoming CoA President, Melanie Dixon, introduced herself to the board and shared her excitement for joining the district.

She named Gilkerson’s leadership as one of the main reasons she pursued the position. “I’d follow her anywhere,” Dixon said.

Dixon also expressed her interest in the budget discussion for the upcoming year. “I’m excited to delve in with my team and figure out those opportunities to bring in more revenue.”

Her appointment, effective July 15, was ratified by the board via the consent calendar at an annual salary of $224,069.

Gilkerson welcomes new admin, honors deceased

PCCD Chancellor Tammeil Gilkerson welcomed Lily Espinoza to the position of VP of Student Services at Laney College.

She then shared news of two deaths in the Peralta community.

Donald Godbold, who served as Peralta’s first African-American Chancellor from 1980 to 1988 and founded the Peralta Association of African American Affairs, died May 25 at the age of 95, Gilkerson said.

Belinda Van Buhler, a student support specialist at CoA’s Student Accessibility Services department, passed away recently. “She was always ready for a conversation in the parking lot, a warm smile, or a needed hug,” Gilkerson said.

 

From the Consent Calendar

The “consent calendar” is a group of items on the meeting’s agenda that is typically approved in one motion without discussion. Trustees may pull items from the consent calendar to discuss and vote individually.

This week’s consent calendar was unanimously approved with zero items pulled for discussion.

Merritt meal program more popular than expected

Fresh & Natural, which provides meals for Merritt College’s free meal program, received a $101,000 amendment to its Spring 2024 contract. The program gave out nearly 15,000 free meals to students this semester, which was more than double of what the college initially expected, according to the agenda item’s description. The increased demand brought the cost of the program from $100,000 to $201,000.

Construction updates

CoA Aviation Project: AE3 Partners, Inc., a San Francisco-based architecture firm, received a $213,922 amendment to its contract to design CoA’s new Aviation Campus. The project includes renovations to an existing building on the campus, and the demolition and construction of two hangars.

It’s the contract’s second amendment, bringing the total value of the contract to $3,267,197. Per the new amendment, AE3 will come up with alternative methods for floodproofing Hangar A that would lower construction costs, according to a description of the agenda item.

Merritt Child Development Center and Landscape Horticulture Complex: King Construction Inspection, Inc., which is contracted to provide inspector of record services for two construction projects at Merritt College, received a $278,140 amendment to its contract, bringing the total value of the contract to $1,173.08.

The amendment is for “additional inspector of record services” for both projects, amounting to 992 extra hours for the new Child Development Center project and 668 hours for the new Landscape Horticulture Complex project.

About the Contributors
Romi Bales
Romi Bales, Staff Writer.
Romi Bales (they/them) is a Bay Area transplant, originally from San Diego. They are a first-year staff writer with The Citizen and have worked as an editor and Editor in Chief for several academic publications including Humble Pie Literary Magazine, The Production Online Newspaper, and Inscribe Writing and Visual Anthology. They received a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Writing and Literature from the California College of the Arts in 2020. In their free time, Romi enjoys reading and writing queer fiction novels, researching Irish culture, and memorizing information about sustainable farming practices.
Li Khan
Li Khan, Editor in Chief
Li Khan is the Editor in Chief of The Citizen, and a member of the CalMatters College Journalism Network. She believes in the power of student media to hold local institutions accountable. She's particularly interested in analyzing how changes to higher education policy trickle down from the Capitol to colleges and their constituents. Li holds a degree in Computer Science from The University of Texas at Dallas and hopes to incorporate that knowledge into data-centered reporting projects. 
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