Wednesday May 27, 2015


Welcome to our new home!  Thanks so much for surfing over to the website.  We will be providing information on El Camino Community College District news as well as the latest happenings with the ECC Board of Trustees.  You can get to know your newest Trustee, Ken Brown, a little better also. Please make yourself at home and please excuse the dust as we try and bring important and useful information directly to the community.
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El Camino College Humanities Building

To everyone in and out of the El Camino College District: Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!!!  It has been a pleasure serving as your Area 1 (Inglewood & Ladera Heights) representative on the El Camino College District Board of Trustees.  My family thanks you for all of your support!!!

Peace & Love

Happy Thanksgiving 2012!!


Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

I wanted to drop a really quick note to say thanks to all those who have been very patient with me and my "blogging".  I'm trying to do a better job of updating the site as the year ends.  You will always have a chance to reach me directly via Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail, though.

Thanks to all those who went out and voted in support of El Camino College's Bond Measure E.  It past with a tremendous amount of support from the Inglewood and Ladera Heights community.  87% of voters from this community voted in support!!!  I'm tremendously proud and humbled by the show of support.  From the Mayor, to the Inglewood City Council, to local churches, and block clubs, people really understood the need for the Bond and how it will directly help students from this community. 

It was especially nice to pass the measure on the same night that the country re-elected President Barack Obama.  I'll be doing a victory dance until at least the new year.

In sad news, El Camino College President Tom Fallo has announced his retirement.  I will post more details here in the next few weeks.  President Fallo has been an extraordinary leader for the College District for many years and while I'm extremely not happy he will be leaving the District, I am certainly happy for him and his family on the decision he has made.  For more of my thoughts, please follow me on Twitter or catch me on Facebook. 

I leave you with a picture of one of the many signs that popped up around the District during the run up to the election in November. This one was taken on Crenshaw Blvd. in Inglewood....Pretty cool!!!  :)



Absences and Announcements



First off, let me apologize for being lax on updating the blog part of this website.  Things have been very hectic in the past month.  I did want to get on and at least announce that El Camino College's next Board of Trustee Meeting will be held April 16, 2012 in the Campus Bookstore Building, East Dining Room at 4pm.

I am quite certain that we will not have any pepper-spray incidents either!  

The last few Board Meetings have been important and just a bit exciting (I'm looking at you Occupy ECC! :) ).  I haven't seen the agenda for next week's meeting yet, but I urge anyone reading this come out and see how El Camino governance is performed and get involved.

If you haven't visited our Facebook Page, please take time out and go. It is easy for me to post information and links and videos there that students/faculty/staff/administration/public should be aware of. The image above has my Twitter account listed as well.

I promise to do better in posting information here.  If you see anything that you think should be brought to my attention, please feel free to e-mail it to me!

See you next week at the Board Meeting!!

Be Careful What You Ask For



So I’ve complained to many people about the lack of media coverage of our Board of Trustees meetings and how this lack of coverage leads to misconceptions on how the District is run.

A couple of weeks ago there was a fantastic event on the campus of El Camino College.  It was the annual Historically Black College and University Transfer Fair where many HBCU representatives set up tables to inform to  engage ECC students who were interested in transferring to 4-year institutions.  The turnout was quite large and when I arrived, I saw students, faculty, and even news media.

I was introduced to the KPCC reporters and asked them if I had any questions for me – a Board Member and an HBCU graduate.  They told me that they really just wanted to talk to students who were there and get their reactions.

Fair enough, I thought. Sounded good at the time. My mistake.

Today, I saw this article: From 'boom town' to bust at the community colleges”

After the first sentence, did the author actually address the successes of the various articulation agreements the the college has?  By the way, El Camino College has more than 10 agreements with HBCUs as well as another slew of agreements with 'majority' schools across the country.  Where were the quotes from the students that they interviewed that day - including the ones who were accepted to HBCUs and ready to transfer?  Did the author even talk to any of the Counselors or Faculty who work with students to get them successfully transferred to 4-year institutions? And why wouldn't you interview or at least get a comment from a Board of Trustee member (who is a HBCU graduate!) that is standing right there?!?

When I read this, it is clear that the author has an agenda and slant she is trying to push (that has nothing to do with transfers to 4-year colleges) and I have to commend Professor Donnell for seeing and articulating the larger picture - these times are hard and 'gimmick' tricks like blindly taking away money from administrators isn't going to help the State provide revenue to fund K-14.

Instead of following Faculty Union 'talking points' and being a complete parrot, Ms. Abdollah should have taken 3 minutes out to address some of the causes of the current crisis at California Community Colleges like ECC OR maybe cover what ECC is doing to help the students who are there - like the HBCU Transfer Fair and creating relationships all across the country so that students who want to transfer to a quality 4-year institutions can.

Looking at Ms. Abdollah history of championing issues that she has no understanding of, we have to make sure we get the facts out there and hope that ‘reporters’ do their job. This is partially why this website is up but I would really like reporters to actually report news and facts.  Look we can argue over issues and how to implement policy, but there is only one set of facts and I think people who like to gin up news like Ms. Abdollah forget that and just want to get clicks on their articles or twitter followers.  I guess if that is your motivation, so be it….Just let the rest of us know that’s what you are doing so we can ignore you.  Meanwhile, I’ll be looking for someone to report all the facts, not just the convenient ones that trend.

As always, if you have a question or a comment, please feel free to e-mail me directly or visit my Facebook page or even follow me on Twitter.

This Stuff Ain't Easy

Normally, preparations for a Board Meeting brings a bunch of attention and messages to my e-mail and voice-mailboxes.  This month is no fact, this month has shown a huge spike in traffic when it comes to correspondences from students - which is a great thing.  Of course, many are voicing a concern that I (and other Board Members) have made up our minds with regards to cutting Winter Semester.

As I told everyone who took the time out to contact me, *MY* mind isn't made up yet to whether we should keep Winter Semester.  To be honest, my position is pretty straightforward: In lieu of the budget cuts coming in from Sacramento, what is the best way to educate the most students as possible?  This includes the students who are already enrolled in ECC as well as those who will be enrolling in the upcoming years.

The questions that I have tasked the Administration with are: What are the affected numbers if we cut Winter Session and add an extra Summer Session(s)?  How does it affect the budget?  Can we relieve some of the impact on current students who are having problems getting classes in the Fall or Spring?

Because I try and base my decisions on facts and not feelings, I've asked for a Student Impact report from the Administration. Of course El Camino College is not the only school in the area to feel the budget hit, but right now I'm looking at almost $10M in cuts since last year.  Take a look at these notes from the El Camino's Planning & Budget Committee:


Current Year State Revenue Shortfalls

Planning & Budget Committee Meeting March 1, 2012

The $149 million State take back is regrettable for all community colleges across the State. For ECC, this take back was $2.6 million of which we had prudently budgeted for $1.95 million in State take backs. ECC is fortunate to have an unbudgeted shortfall (deficit) of only $654,853. ECC has now received a rebenching of our State budget revenue from our Chancellor's Office (known as a P-1 report). The P-1 includes the initial State budget reduction, the Trigger 2 cuts and this mid-year take back being referred to as a surprise. ECC's revised P-1 State revenue allocation is $88.7 million; ECC had budgeted State revenue at $89.4. The ECC's revenue budget is currently overstated by $654,853.

In addition to this revenue adjustment, there are two additional items of note. (1) ECC's election costs are expected to be $700,000 above the budgeted amount of $400,000, (2) Our FTES audit found that one of our Fire Tech courses cannot be claimed for State revenue in the amount of at least $450,000. In summary, our current projections are as follows:

$655,000              Mid-year State deficit (a/k/a surprise)
$700,000              Additional Election Costs above Budget
             Estimated Pay Back on Fire Tech
$1,805,000           Estimated Budget Shortfall (as of Feb. 26, 2012)

Due to past prudent fiscal actions, ECC staff plans to recommend to our Board that this shortfall be absorbed by our projected ending balance.

For those of you tracking the impact of State actions on ECC:

$5,508,000           Initial Budget Cuts
$1,793,000           January "Trigger" Budget Cuts
          February Mid-year State deficit (a!k/a surprise)
$9,916,000           Total (rounded)


This is what I'm dealing with. No one on our Board wants to cut classes or stop people from getting educated. These are facts.

Remember all the 'noise' a few months ago when people wanted us to spend down our Budget Reserves???  "It's a rainy day fund and it's raining!" "You don't care about the students!" "The Board just wants to line their pocket" "You don't know what it's like to be a teacher and look into these students eyes...", etc.

If the Board had reacted as many wanted us to react, we wouldn't be debating Winter Semester, we'd be announcing Layoffs, Furloughs, and maybe even closing down departments. Just look around at other K-14 campuses around the state to see what happens when you don't plan for these sorts of budget shortfalls.  Not all of it is the fault of our Boards, but in many cases it is their fault.

This stuff ain't easy, but El Camino is in a good position to weather these storms. What I would like from the students and faculty is a better understanding of the big picture and not get caught up in thinking that the Board isn't looking out for the students and faculty.

As always, please feel free to hit me on e-mail, facebook, twitter, or cell phone.  I look forward to seeing you at the next Board meeting.


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