It’s time to be transparent with finances. Reading through the minutes and attending board meetings, the true financial situation of the VCCCD is unclear. Is it a $70 million reserve or more, what is it? VCCCD Trustees Josh Chancer and Gabriela Torres, who have endorsed me in this race, have been fighting for clarity, but continue to receive partial information. What is clear is there are tens of millions of dollars in reserves for a rainy day that could be used to give greater access to students, protect union employees from the economic effects of upcoming budget challenges, and meet the needs of our under served college students. 2020 isn’t a rainy day it’s a storm and it’s time.
It’s time to hold managers accountable for their actions. VCCCD management needs to be held accountable for their lack of transparency, their unwillingness to bargain in good faith, and their unwillingness to appropriately value its employees. The last round of negotiations between the district and its unions is evidence of this. No employer who hires an outside chief negotiator, and spends between $100K and $250k on his services to divide labor, respects its budget responsibilities, its employees, or its community.
As the storm rages on, inequities are no longer able to be concealed by the privileged who seek ways to avoid addressing them. There’s a need for social justice through education for which I, as a teacher with additional training in social justice, and a longtime advocate for higher education am uniquely equipped.
I have dedicated my teaching career to using all resources within my power to ensure all people have access to education and resources, especially marginalized populations like those I teach (English Learners, and people with disabilities and more). Community Colleges have the power to turn the tides, and now more than ever before the tides need to be turned. Black, Indigenous, People of Color, especially Hispanics are experiencing the inequities now more than ever before. Our Community Colleges are a tremendous resource for these marginalized communities (especially bilingual communities), I know because my students who I taught when they first came to this country are in the Community College system.
They are striving to get an education that will provide for a better future for their family, all while working full time, and often raising families of their own. Their pursuit should be supported with better financial aide and resources, so they can see it through to graduation and vocation.
Our Community Colleges are a tremendous resource addressing equitable access to the American dream. Many of my former students are in the Community College system. They are leaping barriers, I want to eliminate all barriers. Educational and vocational pathways must be forged and fortified to abolish systemic racism, so we can have a strong workforce for Ventura County and California’s economic stability. Education and vocation must be accessible.