By Brandon HENSLEY
Candidates for the Glendale Community College Board of Trustees were present during the CV Town Council meeting Feb. 17 to discuss key financial matters pertaining to the college.
Inside the La Crescenta Library community room, challenger Vartan Gharpetian and incumbents Vahe Peroomian and Tony Tartaglia introduced themselves and took questions from the audience before turning the mic over to GCC President/Superintendant Dawn Lindsay.
The topic of the night for the three candidates was money. The college is facing budget problems. It took a 6% cut recently and could face a 6%-to-14% cut next year, said Tartaglia, current president of the board. The current budget is around $84 million, and 89% of that consists of salaries and benefits.
Tartaglia explained the Board’s
role. “[The Board of Trustees is] responsible for fiscal prudency and policy making.”
“The first thing is not to waste any money,” said Gharpetian when asked how to come up with solutions for the current financial challenges. Gharpetian, who is on the foundation board of Glendale Adventist Medical Center, cited $300,000 paid in fees to former school President Audre Levy, who left in 2009.
“I think in this economy, getting funds from outside sources is very important, but on the other hand, we need to be responsible with the funds that we have and not waste it,” Gharpetian said. “If I am your employee, and you are asking me to take a pay cut and you are going out and spending money on issues that are not important to that business, I would not take that pay cut.”
Tartaglia said the board runs a tight ship. “I think we’re one of the best managed facilities that I know of … when I see things not being handled appropriately, I immediately go to the superintendent,” he said.
Tartaglia spent 13 years on the Glendale College Foundation Board, and helped raise $2.5 million. Since joining the board in 2007, he helped establish a fiscal reserve of 5% for the college. He said his goals for the future include finishing the additions to the Garfield campus and maintaining accreditation. Accreditors have told GCC to make necessary changes to maintain eligibility.
Tartaglia and Peroomian also noted the development of the Verdugo Power Academy, a training program that leads to jobs in the electric power industry.
Glendale Community College may also face the realization that it can’t keep holding winter or summer sessions. It has been able to for the time being, but budget problems may force its hand. And with student enrollment soaring, those classes fill up too quickly.
“We chose to educate 3,000 extra full-time students instead of closing our doors,” said Peroomian of the winter session.
Peroomian, a physics professor at UCLA, said the school is looking for other avenues of funding, but sacrifices have been made in the meantime.
“Our faculty, our staff and our management were one of only two districts in the entire state that decided to take pay cuts rather than going the more drastic layoff route,” he said.
When Lindsay got up to speak, she talked about and understood the need for transparency in this time of financial crisis.
“We know the community owns us, pays for our salaries, pays for the educational experiences and we are here to serve you and everybody else that chooses to come to Glendale,” she said.
Toward the end of the meeting, the council elected to close its executive meetings off from the public after councilmember Robbyn Battles brought the issue up.
It was announced the annual Arbor Day celebration will take place at Two Strike Park again on March 19 at 9 a.m.
The next CV Town Council meeting will be at the La Crescenta Library
on March 17 at 7 p.m. It will include
a presentation on Measure S by members of the Glendale Unified School District.