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Report to our Community from Peralta Colleges Board of Trustees

30 January 2018


Meredith Brown, Board President, Area 2

Dr. William “Bill” Riley, Board Vice-President, Area 5

Bill Withrow, Area 1 – Linda Handy, Area 3 – Nicky Gonzalez Yuen, Area 4

Karen Weinstein, PhD, Area 6 – Julina Bonilla, Area 7

Chancellor Jowel C. Laguerre, PhD

We welcomed the New Year and returning students, while rededicating ourselves to serving our learning community at the regularly scheduled Board of Trustee meeting on January 23, 2018. The Trustees will provide these regular updates to our partners in community organizations, business, labor, government and neighborhoods across the East Bay, so that we may continue to work together to improve student success.

Facilities Master Plan Draft

Trustees accepted the Draft Facilities Master Plan (FMP), with the goal of continuing to provide a quality learning and working environment. Collaborative efforts by administrators, faculty, staff and students assessed the District’s current and future needs. Technology and accessibility improvements coupled with necessary electrical and utility upgrades drive many of the projects. Kelle Lynch McMahon, Interim Director of Capital Projects, was joined by Suniya Malhotra, project manager with Steinberg Hart Architects, to present the Plan. Highlights presented for each College include:

  • Berkeley City College, Dr. Rowena Tomaneng, President: building out the third floor of the recently acquired Milvia Street property; reconfiguring the main building on Center Street
  • College of Alameda, Dr. Tim Karas, President: replacing the Aviation and Automotive/Diesel Complexes and building a Performing Arts Center
  • Laney CollegeTammeil Gilkerson, President and Stephen Corlett, Laney College facilities chair: adding a new STEAM Center and new Library Learning Resource Center
  • Merritt College, Dr. Marie-Elaine Burns, President: renovating five buildings, replacing the Horticulture complex and adding a Kinesiology Physical Fitness area
  • Other: Renovating the 860 Atlantic Avenue building in Alameda to support the new Peralta Genomics Institute 

21st Century technology has changed teaching and learning requirements. New pedagogy calls for smart classrooms, upgraded libraries, and improved lecture, laboratory, and office space, as well as enhanced safety and environmental impact features. Under the Plan, each College will be upgraded, and facilities brought on line or improved.

Check out plans and drawings on our website.

Auditor’s Report

Vavrinek, Trine & Day LLP, the District’s auditing firm, presented the 2016-17 audit, a snapshot of the June 2017 year-end financial position, including accounting adjustments. The audit does not reflect measures that Peralta has implemented since June 30, 2017.

Trustee Bill Withrow commended Finance and Budget staff for addressing complex issues, and Trustees Julina Bonilla and Karen Weinstein encouraged continued progress in tracking expenditures and enrollment. The auditors review financial management annually, as well as compliance with state and federal laws. The District achieved an “unmodified” or highest rating in all but one category, owing to unpaid student debt. Throughout the recession, students had a higher rate of non-payment, and while the District continues to collect tuition and fees wherever possible, it was necessary to write off approximately $6 million in student debt dating back to 2009.

Despite this fact, our Peralta Colleges finished the year with a positive fund balance.

The audit’s good news is that our fund balance is healthier than previously thought. This reflects the prudent stewardship of the Office of Finance and Administration. At the same time, we recognize we need to continue to make needed improvements.

Read the complete Auditor’s report for June 30, 2017.

Water Career Pathways Consortium

During the recent drought, we learned just how important water resources and the systems that deliver them are to our region. In partnership with the West-Valley Mission Community College District, Peralta Colleges will receive a $150,000 grant to engage East Bay employers, including EBMUD, the Port of Oakland, school districts, and others in developing learning and employment opportunities for our students.

In memoriam

The Board adjourned in respectful memory of Phyllis Jones, a respected, long-time Peralta employee, and John Steiner, a Professor of Biology at College of Alameda.

Our next Board of Trustees meeting will be February 27, 2018. View the agenda at web.peralta.edu/trustees.

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If you would like more information about the Peralta Community College District Governing Board, please visit web.peralta.edu or email trustees@peralta.edu

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