AFT members speak out to Board on need for dental and vision benefits for Part-Time Faculty

Part-Time Faculty Need Dental and Vision Insurance

While the District recently agreed to provide access to District medical plans to part-time faculty who work at least 40% time in our District (and to continue current provisions for multi-district faculty), under the District’s proposal, these part-timers would pay the same contributions that full-timers do and would not have District dental or vision coverage.

At the April 24th and March 27th Board of Trustees meetings, AFT members spoke out at the public comment period to explain why it is critical to the health of these part-time faculty to provide dental and vision coverage, how it is affordable for the district to do so and pointed out many of the numerous other districts that provide this coverage to their part-time faculty.

* Read the San Mateo Daily Journal article on the April 24th Board meeting speak-out:


April 24th Board Action

Faculty and students call for dental and vision insurance for part-time faculty at April 24th Board of Trustees meeting

About 15 faculty members and students attended the April 24th Board meeting, to call on the Trustees to provide dental and vision coverage to part-time faculty. Beth LaRochelle (Dental Assisting faculty at CSM), David Hasson (Skyline Math instructor) and Tamara Perkins (Film instructor, CSM & Skyline) explained the importance of dental and vision coverage for part-time faculty during the public comment period. (Click on their names above to watch their remarks.)

March 27th Board Action

The faculty speak-out at the March 27th Board meeting — in the middle of spring break — was organized by our union’s Contract Action Team (CAT.)  Tamara Perkins (PT Film Instructor, CSM & Skyline) did the research on health issues associated with lack of vision and dental care, and Jessica Silver-Sharp (PT Librarian, Cañada & Skyline) and Katharine Harer (retired Skyline English Instructor) planned and pulled together the event.

AFT 1493 President Monica Malamud, Skyline College Part-Time Environmental Science Instructor Mays Danfoura and Skyline College Part-Time English Instructor Kathleen McClung made comments to the Board. You can watch their comments or read the text of their presentations below. Julia Johnson, Skyline Full-Time Auto Tech Instructor, also prepared comments but was unable to present them because, at the last minute the Board changed the time of their discussion of the topic from 6 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. You can read her prepared text below.

–> Click here to view Zoom backgrounds that highlight the importance of dental and vision coverage to overall health – available to download


Monica Malamud

(Click here to watch Monica’s comments or read the text below)

I want to say that we’re very grateful to the district for agreeing to offer eligible part-time faculty in our district access to the same health care plans that other employees, and also trustees, can enroll in and to continue the reimbursement program for eligible district part-time faculty.

Regarding the cost of premiums, according to Ed code 87867, section B3, it states that premiums paid by part-time faculty should be no more than the actual individual premium paid by full-time faculty. So, in other words, part-time faculty could actually pay less than full-time faculty and the district would still get reimbursed for 100% of the premiums. AFT wants part time faculty to have access to health care at no cost.

We do not understand why the district would refuse to do this. It does not affect other employees. It does not affect the district budget. And our part-time faculty are already at a disadvantage. For example, they have a lower income. They don’t have access to many other district benefits. They don’t have reasonable assurance of reemployment. And for part-time faculty to have to pay even a portion of the health care premium from their paycheck is a hardship. But for the district, giving them health care at no cost costs nothing at all.

Now, if the district’s position were that it wants all faculty to have the same benefits at the same cost, then this is inconsistent with a district’s refusal to offer vision and dental care for part-time faculty as well, which AFT would like our part time faculty to get. There is a cost, yes, and the district will not get reimbursed for it; but I want to remind you that by implementing the part-time health care program, the district will no longer have to allocate about $400,000 for reimbursement for part-time health premiums. So how about using some of these savings to offer vision and dental care to part time faculty?

We have estimated the cost, and it would be around $67,000 if everyone chooses the Delta dental care HMO plan, and under $124,000 if everybody chose the PPO plan. And finally, as wonderful as it is that part-time faculty who have at least 40% load, will be able to enroll in district health care plans, some eligible faculty would still prefer to get their own health coverage and continue with the reimbursement program because of the danger of falling before below the 40% load and losing their health care, according to the results of a survey that were jointly conducted with the district; and we’re talking about fewer than 20 faculty. And again, this would not be reimbursed by the state, but the cost could easily come out of the savings that the district will enjoy, because of participating in the part time health care program.

Mays Danfoura

(Click here to watch Mays’ comments or read the text below)

My name is Mays Danfour and I teach Environmental Science Part-Time at Skyline College.  I’ve worked in the district for over 6 years.

I’m here to share some information about the importance of providing dental benefits for our hard working adjunct faculty, who make up more than 50% of faculty members in this District.

It is a proven fact that gum disease (or periodontitis) in pregnant adults has been linked to premature births and low birth weight in children. Many adjunct faculty with families, or those wanting to start families, are sole providers and need to ensure their families stay healthy. We also know from a recent article in the LA Times that: (quote) “California kids have some of the worst teeth in the nation” and our state (quote) “ranks among the worst states when it comes to pediatric dental disease.” Furthermore, the germs in our mouths can travel into our lungs and cause pneumonia and other respiratory diseases in both children and adults.

Worrying about being able to take care of our dental health, as well as our family’s, creates stress and financial strain on adjuncts in our district. In Northern California alone, thousands of part-time faculty at community colleges with far fewer financial resources than ours, have the support of paid dental insurance.

Among these are Los Rios in Sacramento, Mission/West Valley, Peralta Community College District across the Bay, Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz, San Jose/Evergreen, and City College of San Francisco. Adjunct faculty at all campuses of the College of Marin also receive dental insurance.  Many other community college districts up and down the state are providing this benefit for their part-timers as well including Santa Monica, Pasadena, North Orange County and San Diego.

High quality dental care should be considered an essential benefit. Thank you for hearing my concerns this evening.

Kathleen McClung

(Click here to watch Kathleen’s comments or read the text below)

My name is Kathleen McClung and I teach English at Skyline College.  I’ve worked in the district for 28 years as a Part-Timer.

Tonight I would like to tell you about some extremely sobering information about BOTH dental and vision health that you might not be aware of.

Medical scientists have found that gingivitis (a common form of gum disease) is linked to a higher risk of Cardiovascular Disease. Endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers or valves, can occur when germs from another part of the body, such as the mouth, spread through the blood and attach to certain areas in the heart.  Current research points to a link between gum disease and inflammation that can precede heart attacks, strokes, and sudden vascular events.

According to Harvard Medical School, the risk of critical illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Dementia may also increase between 1.5 and 2-fold with the presence of periodontal oral disease. Scientists have found that a species of bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis, can move from the mouth to the brain. 

While good oral health can protect against devastating illnesses, many of our adjunct faculty lack the resources to pay for increasingly expensive dental care without district provided insurance.

In terms of vision care, the journal, Clinical Research in Ophthalmology, found the average cost of cataract surgery, with all that it entails, is $8,026 for both eyes – and that statistic is from 2018, before inflation! A good portion of our adjunct faculty members are aged 60 and above. This procedure is very common for that age group. We all know people who’ve had it and benefited greatly.

When adjunct faculty cannot afford to see the dentist for regular exams or to take care of their vision needs – for example, cataract surgery – in order to continue driving to work and working with students, there is a real, not imagined, likelihood that they and their families will be severely affected. This, in turn, has an impact on our ability to give 100% to our students.

Julia Johnson


(Julia prepared comments but was unable to present them because, at the last minute the Board changed the time of their discussion of the topic from 6 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. Read her prepared text below.)


My name is Julia Johnson and I teach Auto Technology at Skyline.

Tonight I’d like to talk briefly about the importance of providing vision and dental coverage for my fellow adjunct faculty, coverage that I myself receive from the district as a full time faculty member.

Specifically, I want to share some information about why vision coverage is essential for part-time instructors, counselors, nurses and librarians, all of whom need to be able to see well and avoid serious health problems in order to carry out the District’s mission of serving our students.

Comprehensive eye exams not only detect vision problems. An eye exam can also detect diabetes, hypertension, eye cancers and other diseases that can cause vision loss or even death. Early detection of these illnesses is especially critical for  populations most at risk, especially Latinos and Black Californians, who experience diabetes at twice the rate of white Californians.

I’d like to read a short statement from a fellow FT faculty member, Julie Carey at Cañada College, who could not be here this evening to speak for herself:

Message of Support from Julie Carey, Full-Time ESL Faculty, Cañada College

“I want to show my support for dental and vision coverage for our part time faculty. As a district, we often rely on our part timers to complete our course offerings when we have shift schedules and part timers’ schedules can change suddenly with limited or no notice. I am in support of anything we can do to add stability to a group of dedicated professionals relied upon so heavily by staff, administrators and students, and support anything that lessens the impact of our two-tiered system.  It has been heartening to hear progress for the healthcare needs for our part timers. Access to vision and dental insurance is another small step we can take to meet their needs.

As a mother of two children and a full-time faculty member, I consistently rely on the dental and vision insurance provided by the district. I am aware of the impact not having this care would have on my family with dental cleanings and eye appointments costing thousands of dollars each year for folks without vision and dental coverage. In order to honor the contributions of our part timers, I am in full support of providing access to vision and dental so that these valued employees are not burdened with dental and vision medical costs”.

Many Northern California community college districts are already providing vision insurance for their adjunct faculty. These include Los Rios, Mission College/West Valley, CCSF and College of Marin, to name a few. SMCCD faculty deserve this essential resource, too. We are calling on you to do the right thing by making the health of our part-time faculty a top priority as other Bay Area colleges have done and as you have already done for full time faculty in this District.


Download Zoom backgrounds to highlight the importance of dental and vision coverage to overall health

To download the Zoom backgrounds below to highlight the importance of dental and vision coverage to overall health, click on any of the images to open the image in a new tab, then Save the image.



These zoom backgrounds were created by Camille Kaslan, full-time Chemistry faculty member, Cañada College.