Concerns addressed at town hall meeting

Allen Degu

On Feb. 23 San Jose City College hosted a town hall meeting with Chancellor Rita Cepeda, Vice Chancellor Jeanine Hawk, and Vice Chancellor Kim Garcia.

The meeting was one of two events launched by San Jose City College and Evergreen Valley College, which focused on budget resistance that the district is facing. With nearly 35 layoffs effective to take place in June, many of the layoffs are coming from classified staff. The district has to reduce its budget by $4.5 million in order to stay fiscal stable for the next financial year.

The budget plan the chancellor presented consists of: reduction of workforce, and a reduction of salary and benefits. Layoffs are going to be effective on June 30.

With the Collective Bargaining Agreement set to end in 2012, many of the faculty and staff expressed their concerns during the meeting.

Librarian Joseph King questioned the lack of partnership between the district and SJCC staff. The atmosphere of the meeting was hostile; many of the faculty and staff showed frustration toward the lack of a budget.

The district projections for the next three years make layoffs seem inevitable and the likelihood of smaller class sizes seem farfetched.

According to Cepeda, “The only thing available to the board (Board of Trustees) is a reduction of (work) force.” However, English Professor Charles Heimler raised ideas that the district should look into fundraising for necessary funds to keep the district from laying off employees.

Joanne Nakaso of the Disability Support Program Services remarked on the school looking into cost saving effectiveness by just simply turning off appliance and utilizes when not in usage. The next board of trustee meeting dealing with layoff will occur on Mar. 8.

NOTE: Barbara Kavalier was not at the Campus Town Hall Meeting; Rita Cepeda reported it was due to an illness.