February 9, 2011

San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT 1493

Minutes of General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting

February 9, 2011 at Skyline College


EC Members Present: Eric Brenner, Alma Cervantes, Chip Chandler, Victoria Clinton, Dave Danielson, Nina Floro, Katharine Harer, Teeka James, Dan Kaplan, Monica Malamud, Lisa Suguitan Melnick, Sandi Raeber Dorsett, Joaquin Rivera, Anne Stafford, Masao Suzuki, Elizabeth Terzakis, Rebecca Webb

Other Attendees: Margaret Hanzimanolis (Part-Time Organizer), Shawna Whitney, Hilda Fernandez, Ali Shokouhbakhsh

Meeting began at 2:25

Facilitator: Teeka James


* The EC agreed to add an item (12a): District Shared Governance Council Report (Teeka James)


1. Welcome and Introductions

2. Statements from AFT (non-EC) Members on Non-Agenda Items

Ali Shokouhbakhsh, an Economics instructor at CSM, spoke briefly about his objections to what he sees as the problem of over-employment, by which he means Full-time faculty teaching overloads. He distributed a 2-page handout summarizing his position and listing a number of related sources for further reading. Teeka suggested he work with one or more of our Part-time representatives on this issue. Rebecca emphasized the need for Adjunct faculty to be more vocal about this issue – not just when they are at risk of losing their own classes.


3. Minutes of January 19, 2011 AFT Meeting

Approved unanimously with corrections.


4. Community College Budget: State and District

Masao gave a brief report on the proposed state budget. Some of the major impacts on community colleges and on our District (taken directly from Masao’s written summary):

  • No mid-year cuts or cuts in categorical spending (EOPS, DSPS, matriculation)
  • $400 million cuts in funding to community colleges
  • Almost 40% increase in student fees from $26 to $36 per unit
  • $1.5 billion cuts to CalWorks (more than 25%, by cutting number recipients by 20%, cutting grants by 13%, and reducing employment/child care services. This last cut would affect district.)

Much of what happens with the state budget will depend on voter approval of tax extensions in a June election. Some members are concerned that June elections traditionally have lower voter turnout, with a higher percentage of more conservative voters, who are less likely to approve tax extensions. If the cut to our District reaches $8 million, we would become a Basic Aid district. One potential problem with becoming Basic Aid is that our funding would no longer be based on FTE’s, thereby removing incentive to grow, or even maintain, enrollment.


5. Discussion of Parcel Tax FON Exemption

Our District requested an exemption (from the Community College Board of Governors) from the requirement to meet the FON (Faculty Obligation Number) in light of the parcel tax passed by San Mateo County voters last June. Because our District was the first in the state to get a parcel tax passed, our District administration has been the first to make such a request. Currently, the law states that parcel tax money must go to the general fund. While the District cannot use Measure G money to pay for additional Full-Time faculty, it has argued that Measure G funding frees up other money that could be used to hire new FT faculty. Though the Board of Governors was initially supportive, it no longer is.

The EC voted unanimously not to support our District’s request. At present our District just barely meets our FON, which is an important line of resistance to the pressure to rely more heavily on Part-Time faculty.


6. Spring Semester Faculty Letter Writing Campaign Discussion

Tabled until March meeting.


7. Discussion of SLO’s in Faculty Evaluations

While it may be appropriate for Deans to ask faculty to include specific course SLO’s in their syllabi, AFT maintains that it is not appropriate for Deans to use SLO’s in the evaluation of faculty, as some Deans have apparently done. AFT raised the issue with Harry Joel last fall, and has gone on record as opposing this misuse of SLO’s. The District has defended the use of SLO’s in faculty evaluations by pointing to contract language referring to the role of faculty in the evaluation of courses (see Appendix D: Duties and Responsibilities; D1-Duties and Responsibilities of Instructors, section B). AFT maintains that the District is misinterpreting the contract language

The EC voted unanimously to file an Unfair Labor Practice suit with PERB.


8. *Update on AFT/Academic Senate Trust Committee Statement

The EC discussed the joint AFT/Academic Senate Trust Committee statement.


9. Initial Discussion of the Proposed Merger of the CFT’s CCC and the CTA’s CCA

This proposed merger will be voted on a year from now. The primary benefit would be a more unified voice for California’s community colleges. At the time of the vote, there would be no immediate impact on our Local, but after two years our dues would increase slightly. We agreed that we need to know more about the specific benefits in order to explain to our members why dues will be going up.


10. *Grievances

Nothing to report at this time.


11. FSA/Equivalency Procedure

Diana Bennett is currently drafting a document that would change the procedure – though not the actual requirements – for granting equivalency for faculty to teach in additional disciplines. Currently, procedures are not clearly spelled out. We discussed the possibility of discussing and voting on the document online when it is ready; if this proves to be too cumbersome and time-consuming, we will put it on a future meeting agenda.


12. Negotiations Update

AFT and the District participated in an hours-long mediation session last week. Mostly, the mediator got a sense of where the two sides will not budge. He will prepare his proposal for the next session, to be held on March 2. AFT and the District are no longer in face-to-face negotiations. If there is no resolution at the next session, will go to impasse, and then official mediation, which Joaquin anticipates will be brief.


12a.   District Shared Governance Council Report

Teeka reported on an issue that has come to the attention of a number of individual faculty and that was discussed at the last DSGC meeting. In the past, students could accumulate a debt to the District of up to $2,000 before they were prohibited from enrolling in courses. Now, once students owe $200, they are put on a payment plan; if they don’t make the payments on time, they will be disenrolled from courses. The problem is that students often do not get their Financial Aid checks until after they are supposed to pay their fees. Some of these students have been unable to pay their fees and have been disenrolled from classes. This situation has the potential to disenfranchise an already at-risk cohort of students. At least one counselor has also suggested that the chaos of significant numbers of students being disenrolled and then seeking help to get back into classes, could become a workload issue.

The DSGC Sharepoint site is no longer password protected – we now have greater access to it.


13. PERB Trial: Closed Session Discussion

The EC discussed the possibility of a future PERB trial related to a previous faculty grievance.


14. Statements from EC Members on Non-Agenda Items


Meeting adjourned:             4:55