Monthly Archives: January 2015

December 10, 2014

San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT 1493

Minutes of General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting

Wednesday, December 10, 2014, at CSM

EC members present:  Eric Brenner, Vicki Clinton, Salumeh Eslamieh, Stephen Fredricks, Katharine Harer, Teeka James, Dan Kaplan (Exec. Secr.), Michelle Kern, Doniella Maher, Monica Malamud, Sandi Raeber-Dorsett, Joaquin Rivera, Paul Rueckhaus, Shaye Sahedi, Janice Sapigao, Anne Stafford, Elizabeth Terzakis, Rob Williams.

AFT (non-EC) members present:  Jessica Silver-Sharp (PT Librarian @ Skyline)

Meeting began at 2:30 p.m. in closed session

Facilitator:  Anne Stafford

Wecome and Introductions


Statements from AFT (non EC) members on Non-Agenda Items

Minutes of November 12, 2014 AFT meeting

Approved unanimously.

New Resource Allocation Model – Kathy Blackwood

The current Resource Allocation Model has been in place for ten years.  Kathy Blackwood distributed a handout showing what the allocations may look like under our existing model, with the changes that have been made to it.  The following notes are intended as comments/clarification for the handout, not as a complete stand-alone explanation of the New Resource Allocation Model.

Step 1: based on enrollment growth, an additional allocation would have been made to a college experiencing growth.

FTES is not a very good measure of how we serve students.  Since we’re not currently funded based on enrollment, the emphasis of enrollment is now being diminished.

Since all three colleges need to have a basic staffing structure, regardless of size, the idea is to have a Site Allocation that is not tied to the number of students.  To account for this, there is a one time increase in the Site Allocation for Canada.

Step 2: Central Services

Utilities and retiree benefits are the two largest items.  There will be an increase based on inflation.  District has no control over these costs.

Step 3:  Facilities

There’s an increase in the Facilities Allocation when there is an increase in square footage.

Step 4: Growth

Allocate growth based on 5-year increase/decrease in FTES (this used to be based on a 3-year period).

Step 5: District Office and Facilities

Allocate growth to District Office and Facilities as a % of growth allocation to colleges.

Step 6:

District costs for step and column – colleges get from the District the amount that is needed by each site.

CPI on non personnel allocation—this is new.

Demonstrated Need — $3Mill allocated for this new item.

It’s for innovative projects.  The College Presidents would present their needs to the Chancellor’s Cabinet, using forms that are being developed.  Individual College decides how to allocate money, and which projects to fund.  Colleges would need to submit evaluation of the project.  If it’s working, then they get to roll this into the college’s budget.  In addition to the colleges, both the District Office and Facilities may apply for these funds.

Step 7:  Allocate any remaining funds across the board.

At the EC’s request, Kathy also talked about the Proposed Reserves Policy

Board requested Kathy to make changes to reserve policy and increase reserves.  She used information from the GFOA (Government Financial Officers Association).  Recommend no less than two months’ worth of reserves.  Average ending balance has been 18.8% (in 2011) to a low of around 2.9%.

What are our risk factors?  Change in law, natural disasters, lower interest rates, economic improvement which results in lower CC enrollments.

For the proposed Reserves Policy, Kathy used the City of Atherton’s Policy as a model, which consists of three “buckets”:
Budget stabilization:  to avoid mid-year cuts or having to make decisions in the summer
Emergency Disaster:  for example, an earthquake
Working Capital:  money needed every day

DAS asked Kathy to write a procedure for getting to the 15% reserve level.  DAS suggested that reserves not be increased in years when there is not money to increase allocations to the colleges based on the new proposed budget allocation.

Finally, Eric asked about administrative hires in recent years.  Kathy is working on a report.

Negotiations update — Joaquin

Medical benefits

AFT presented a modified proposal to the District consisting of:

i)Medical cap for FT:
$50 for singles
$125 for two-party
$175 for family

District’s response:  will not move from their initial position of $50/75/100

ii)Medical reimbursement for PT:


District’s response:  District would agree to PT reimbursement of $800

One year MOU on faculty teaching assignments and administrators’ option to teach
Faculty may request in writing the reasons why they didn’t get their preferred teaching assignment.
Administrators:  limit to one administrator per year per college

PT employment:

AFT has been trying to improve contract language.  The only improvement that District will agree to is posting seniority lists in division offices.

Katharine said that the newly-hired FT faculty that she’s been talking with feel very connected with the PT, since they many were PT just before being FT.  Michelle shared that more PT may be using the medical reimbursement going forward, given the obligation to sign up for ACA.

AFT is planning on doing a rallying up faculty, both PT and FT, for a campaign to fight for increases in medical benefits.

Strategic Campaign Initiative Organizing Project update – Michelle and Katharine

One challenge for Michelle has been scheduling time to meet with PT, because of the PT’s schedule.

COPE fund:  Katharine has gotten 10 new COPE members.  We were getting $63/month, but now it’s up to $163/month.

There are extra packages, T-shirts and tote bags in the AFT office.

CSM Student Withdrawal Survey — Teeka

Teeka shared a survey that CSM conducted some years ago to find out why students withdrew from online courses.  The survey was developed by the Research office, a VP, an Academic Dean, Enrollment Services Dean, and AFT President (Teeka) and DAS President (Diana) were invited to provide input.  CSM faculty agreed to do this survey on the condition that no teachers would be identified; this agreement seems to have been honored and there have not been any negative repercusions.  The District would like to adopt this survey district-wide.

Janice suggested including the option for the student to identify him/herself, to allow for follow-up.

DSGC Report


Release time: what are the criteria?

What is the expected workload for FT faculty?  What portion of FT load is non-instructional?  What kinds of duties should get release time?

This is a complex topic, and perhaps the EC will schedule a special focus meeting to discuss this topic at length.

AFT 1493 Resolution to Improve PT Pay Equity

Dan informed the EC that our Board has unanimously passed a version of the resolution.  Dan has also taken the resolution to DAS, and they will put in on their next agenda.
Motion to support resolution:  passed unanimously.

CFT Convention

Teeka talked about nominations for awards.

Higher Education Campaign Coalition

There is an attempt to put together a higher ed coalition:  CFA (CSU union), CFT, AFSCME, etc.  This coalition is trying to get the state budget more money for PT pay parity, paid office hours.


Adjourned at 5:03 p.m.

Dec. 2014 Advocate – Board wants to increase reserve fund

District Budget

Board wants to increase reserve fund to 15-30% but Cañada & CSM Senates oppose idea

rainy-day-funds-webA new District Board of Trustees policy has been proposed that would set “the appropriate level of reserves that the District will strive to maintain in its Unrestricted General Fund” at 15-30% of the District’s annual Unrestricted Gen
eral Fund. (see proposed Board Policy 8.12) This would be a significant increase over past budgets. The Contingency Reserve in the District’s 2012-13 final budget, for example, was 5%, an amount that was described in the budget as “strongly recommended by the State.” Additionally, the proposal would require a two-thirds vote of the Board to use any monies in the reserve.
The new reserves proposal has come up for discussion before both the Cañada College and CSM Academic Senate Governing Councils and both Senate bodies opposed the new reserve levels.

15-30% is much higher than required & Basic Aid funding from County is strong
At the November 13th Cañada College Governing Council, Spanish Professor Monica Malamud spoke against the new reserves proposal on a number of grounds. She pointed out that a reserve of 15-30% is much higher than required by law and is unwarranted at this time, given that the District is now Basic Aid, which provides a much more reliable revenue stream. Since our funding is now based on property taxes, it is extremely unlikely to go down or even remain stable, especially since property values in San Mateo County have not tended to go down, even when they do in other areas. Monica explained that while the District’s reserve in their proposed budgets has typically been at the 5% level, their final budgets normally have a higher ending balance, commonly in the high teens. What this shows is that the District spends less than they budget for, or that they budget quite conservatively. Monica emphasized that having budgets that result in ending balances in the teens is very different from institutionalizing, by Board policy, such a high reserve level.  She also added that the requirement of a 2/3 vote of the Board to spend down any part of the reserve would require 4 out of 5 votes in favor rather than the normal majority vote of 3 out of 5, thus making that money more “untouchable”. Ultimately, the Cañada Senate leaders voted unanimously to oppose the newly proposed reserve levels.
At the CSM Academic Senate meeting on November 25, the same arguments were made against the new policy as were made at Cañada’s ASGC meeting. Although there was no vote at the CSM meeting, as it was an information item, unanimous opposition to the new reserves proposal was expressed. Executive Vice Chancellor Kathy Blackwood will be attending the next CSM Senate meeting in December. The CSM Senate’s position of no support to this proposal will be shared with Kathy at that time so she will have the opportunity of responding to Senate criticisms of this new reserves proposal.

Dec. 2014 Advocate – Negotiations Update

Negotiations Update

Negotiations continue on medical caps & language on part-time employment & full-time teaching

negotiations1-webAFT 1493’s negotiating committee has been meeting with the District’s negotiators with the goals of increasing medical caps for both full-time and part-time faculty, strengthening language for part-time employment and improving language for full-time teaching assignments. No agreements have been reached as of December 1.
AFT initially proposed an increase in the part-time faculty’s medical reimbursement from $600 to $1800 per semester, but so far, the District has only agreed to go up to $800.
For full-time faculty, AFT’s initial proposal was to increase monthly medical caps $100 (for individuals), $150 (for 2-party) and $200 (for 3+).  At this point, the District’s offer is $50/$75/$100, which has already been agreed to by CSEA and AFSCME.
Negotiations on improved language for part-time employment and for full-time teaching assignments has been slow. The District has rejected several AFT proposals to improve part-time employment rights, and so far has only agreed to post seniority lists in division offices. On full-time assignment rights, the District has not accepted any AFT proposal, except to put in writing an explanation of why a faculty member’s request was not honored. In exchange for the faculty assignment language, the District wants language on the rights of administrators to teach classes
The AFT will provide negotiations updates when there is more to report.

Dec 2014 Advocate – Repeatability restrictions hurt students

How repeatability regulations are devastating the arts and taking the community out of our colleges

by Maya Bendotoff, Executive Director, Cabrillo College Federation of Teachers, AFT 4400

In the summer of 2012, prior to the passage of Prop 30, when there were hundreds of thousands of students that the California Community College system was unable to serve, the Community College Board of Governors passed regulations that prohibit a student who successfully completes a class from repeating it, except under certain circumstances. (Students can repeat courses required for transfer to the repeatability1-webUniversity of California or California State University, related to participation in intercollegiate athletics, or required for vocational or licensure reasons.) The regulations became effective in the fall of 2013.
In the context of five years of some of the worst budget cuts colleges had ever seen— the Chancellor’s office reported that some 20% of classes had been cut system-wide—these measures made sense to some.

Funding has stabilized, but restrictions remain
Then, in November of 2012, voters passed Prop 30 (primarily a tax on the wealthy to fund education). Prop 30 helped resuscitate public education in our state, where all levels of education had been severely reduced. Funding for the community college system more or less stabilized. But these restrictive regulations are still in place.
The regulations aimed to cut down enrollment in the arts and physical education, where statewide enrollment was high. Under pressure to cut enrollments, and in conjunction with other trends in education leaning towards objectives and outcomes, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) provided guidance (in 2011) that informed the new regulations. The thinking behind this was that curriculum should be leveled where appropriate, and students should not need to repeat a course that they have passed successfully. As ASCCC leaders explain in a recent article, “The educational principle behind credit courses is based on achieving objectives and outcomes . . . If the student achieves those objectives and outcomes, the student passes; if the student does not, the student should not pass.”

A huge blow to anyone serious about art
Under the recent regulations a student can only successfully complete a course one time in most cases. There is an additional factor for students in the arts and kinesiology: students may have no more than four enrollments in any given group of active participatory courses that are related in content (commonly known as a family of courses). This is a huge blow to anyone serious about art, especially those students who didn’t (and don’t) have access to private music, theater, or other arts classes.  In many cases, the new regulations make the maximum number of courses allowed in community colleges the minimum needed for transfer to State or UC. This doesn’t take into account the fact that some students may need more than that minimum to build proficient performance skills and portfolios that will be needed to get into many four-year colleges. Cabrillo has sent many students of the visual and performing arts to top-notch institutions in the past; but now students will be restricted from following similar paths of success.
Other areas impacted by these changes include the Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs such as Journalism, Digital Media, Computer Information Systems, Welding, and Culinary Arts, areas where curriculum or technology changes over time, or bilingual students may want to take a course in two languages (note that a petition process is applicable in situations that are needed for transfer or certificates). Students are also limited in areas such as Creative Writing and World languages. And Work Experience students/courses have been heavily impacted (the ASCCC is in the process of addressing this item.)

A narrow vision that pushes students through fast
Overall, the changes to repeatability align with a narrow vision of colleges that focuses on academic transfer and CTE certificate or licensing programs and allows students two years to get through the system.  It does not take into account those updating skills for jobs not associated with licensing requirement or students attempting to pursue goals outside of transfer.
These regulations have gone too far. While some colleges have managed the curriculum in a way that enables them to maintain their programs, from what we are hearing students in numerous programs across the state are, and will continue to be, severely impacted by these regulations.
We would love nothing more than to get back to a Master Plan Vision of education that provides quality education for all Californians. In the meantime, we’d like to save our art programs and bring back access for students who may need to repeat a course for a reason other than (low level) transfer or a certificate. We hope you will join us.

Click here for more information on efforts by the ASCCC and local senates to reform the repeatability requirements.

Click here to sign an online petition to support the reform of repeatability requirements.

Dec 2014 Advocate – AFTers welcome new faculty

New faculty welcomed by AFTers bearing gifts

By Katharine Harer, AFT Strategic Campaign Initiative Organizer

Our campaign to meet and welcome new faculty hires is off to a great start.  Strategic Campaign Initiative Organizers, Katharine Harer and Michelle Kern, have created a snazzy new packet of materials especially for newly hired faculty members. The packet includes a folder of ten colorful cards (shown in photo), each outlining in accessible language issues and questions that faculty may have about their rights and working
SCIO-BrochuresSet2-webconditions; a flyer explaining our Committee on Political Education (COPE); and a revamped AFT 1493 membership form and welcome letter.

Starting in the beginning of the fall semester, Katharine interviewed a number of full and part time faculty members on all three campuses and elicited quotes and stories from each of them about the value of our union. These inspiring quotes along with each faculty member’s photo appear at the top of each piece of the new literature, giving our members a voice in speaking for the union.

Together Katharine and Michelle conceptualized what they thought would be helpful for faculty. Michelle, an art instructor at CSM, did all of the design work in close consultation with Katharine, and they both worked on the writing and research necessary to produce these informative pieces. The goal was to make each piece attractive and useful, and the response so far has been incredibly positive.

Two of the new full-time faculty who have received the AFT packets were Jessica Hurless (left), Communication Studies,
and Mustafa Popal (right), History, both welcomed at Skyline College

As Katharine and Michelle travel our three colleges meeting with as many newer faculty as possible, they come bearing gifts:  everyone receives a beautiful red tote bag with the union’s new logo displayed on the front (also designed by the talented Michelle).  Tucked inside each tote bags are the new materials described above along with some AFT swag, a few treats for tired teachers, and one of our newly designed bright red AFT 1493 t-shirts. (See tote bag and t-shirt in photo below.)

AFT 1493 has a face, many faces in fact, and we are enjoying getting out there to meet and welcome all of you. Some examples of the faculty quotes and photos are shown below.



MichaelHoffmanI have to catch myself when I start thinking that I’m lucky to have benefits and job security because it’s really the vigilance and organized power of our union that makes that possible.
— Michael Hoffman, FT Math, Canada







Lavinia-webI was part time for twenty-seven years. Fifteen years into it, I read in The Advocate that part timers could apply for unemployment, and a light went on. I called the Union office and found out about the process to apply and how I should present myself.  For years I applied and received seasonal unemployment insurance.
— Lavinia Zanassi, FT Career Services Center
Coordinator, Skyline







Lisa-webWhen I’d been part time at CSM for about five years and had accrued some seniority, one semester I didn’t receive my full load.  I went to the union office and got immediate help, clarifying my seniority status.  I learned from that experience that I had the right to advocate for myself.
— Lisa Suguitan Melnick, PT ESL & Kinesiology, CSM







JoyceLuck-2-webOur part-time seniority rights allowed me to take off spring semester to finish writing a novel and come back and retain my position on the part-time seniority list.
— Joyce Luck, PT English, CSM