Foothill-De Anza must act on hope, not fear2 min read

Genevieve Kolar, Managing Editor

In the July 9 meeting of the FHDA board of trustees, Chancellor Judy Miner announced the board’s decision to remove a $800 million facilities bond from the November ballot, postponing the vote to 2020. This decision is a culmination of the lack of communication and unity that has permeated the district’s deliberations for far too long.

The district received the bond positively in polls but Miner cautioned that positive polling does not guarantee success. The bond is for the construction, renovation and maintenance of facilities, and the board acknowledged its potential to be used for industry-grade equipment and technology to bolster workforce training. Workforce training, along with transfer, is the highest priority of polled community members.

But, fear of “tense labor negotiations, revenue uncertainties…impending position eliminations and unstable enrollment,” negatively impacting the campaign won out over affirming community input. In a July 10 email, Miner went so far as to say these conditions “could lead to an opposition campaign based on misinformation.”

Board of trustees President Bruce Swenson commended the outreach efforts and advocated the pursuit of community input throughout the decision-making process.

The bond discussion opened a window for significant change. Submitting to fear and doing nothing in the face of potential evolution is disheartening, but not surprising. Faculty and administration should have a shared vision that serves the district’s best interests and assuages fears of poor financial management.

These efforts are a promising start, but they mean nothing when the district disregards feedback. The board can easily communicate to avoid misinterpretation of intent, can work together to serve our community’s needs. The changes necessitated by budget cuts offer a chance to make legitimate change- not to trim the fat of our current model until we can stabilize enrollment, but to reevaluate, reallocate and develop. Inaction is not a viable option. We must not act out of fear but hope.