City College Times

Bond measures and a broken promise

Child Development Center to be demolished

Melissa Maria Martinez, Times Staff

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The 2030 Facilities Master Plan and Bond Measure X indicate plans to demolish the Child Development Center after plans to renovate the building were abandoned in 2012; with no mention of building a new center.

San Jose City College’s Child Development Center was built in 1979 and was in need of major renovations in 2004 when voters approved Measure G, a $185 million bond measure set to pay for projects outlined by the district in the ballot voters approved.

The building of Child Development was among the projects listed but renovations were never implemented.

Yet even as the financial crisis forced the district to reevaluate its priorities in 2009, the Child Development Center was considered too important a program to cut for lack of funds.

“The board is committed to the district having a cost effective child development center,” former Chancellor, Rosa Perez said April 16, 2009, according to the governing board meeting minutes.

Instead of cutting the program, the district decided to reengineer the Child Development Center into a laboratory school associated with the Early Childhood education department, according to May 21, 2009 governing board meeting minutes.

 

Then what happened to the Child Development Center?

On April 1, 2011, no more than three months into her position, former president Barbara Kavalier sent an email informing the school that the Child Development Center must close at the end of June, according to an article from City College Times.

According to the article, Kavalier said that a district review of the center conducted the year before found that San Jose City College had insufficient funds to cover all the costs associated with the Child Development Center.

“The reason they gave for shutting down the center, was that the center was not environmentally safe for children,” Metas Coordinator Alex Lopez said.

Following her announcement, Kavalier makes a recommendation to the board of trustees; to lay off center employees because the cost associated with the center’s renovations, repairs and upgrades would cost too much to keep the center open, according to April 12, 2011 governing board minutes.

According to the minutes, trustee Balbir Dhillon asks Kavalier if Measure G funds could cover the costs of necessary renovations to keep the center in compliance and Kavalier acknowledged that the bond did include the Child Development Center.

The board asks Kavalier to look for alternatives to closing the center, but during the next meeting Kavalier convinces trustees that the center is not a priority for the school, according to May 10, 2011 governing meeting minutes.

Despite the fact that Measure G included the building of Child Development, the board of trustees voted in favor of Kavalier’s recommendation; to lay off the center’s employees—essentially closing the center.

“It is important to note that we are committed to bringing back child care services to San Jose City College and have begun building a plan for the future center,” former District Chancellor Rita Cepeda said in the resolution that eliminated the employee positions.

Broken promise

Subsequently, Measure G funds  earmarked for the Child Development Center’s renovations were changed to cover a new project; Photo Lab Relocation, according to Dec. 11, 2012 project change log.

What about building a new center?

San Jose City College President, Byron Breland said he believes it is possible to revisit the discussion for a new center; however the college would first have to demonstrate a need.

“Our district is committed to working with students and the community to provide ideal services to assist our students achieve their educational goals,” Breland said, “In terms of being responsible with taxpayer’s money, we would have to develop a need, as we would with any other project.”

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Bond measures and a broken promise