Progress and controversy was the name of the game at the most recent Governing Board meeting.
At the April 8 board meeting, Vice President of Student Services Adrian Gonzales, outlined the initial plan for a new form of financial aid disbursement. The financial aid and fiscal offices are currently working with student services on possibly dispersing financial aid through a debit card.
“A lot of schools have moved toward essentially a debit card, where your financial aid gets distributed electronically and you can withdraw funds through a special ATM at the school,” Gonzales said.
Initially, trustees Nancy Chadwick and Mark Evilsizer had a couple of questions regarding the issue of hidden fees and other options of disbursement. When asked about that, Gonzales was adamant about being open and transparent.
“Legislation has now been coming out and saying ‘you can’t have locked in fees.’ You have to be very transparent in how you process this: we want to make sure that these students have an option that if they want their check to be distributed electronically through their own checking account…that it will be perfectly fine,” Gonzales said.
Later in the meeting, Palomar Faculty Federation co-president Shannon Lienhart talked about her attendance at the first annual Network for Public Education conference in Austin, Texas, last month. The conference was put together to place a focus on stopping the corporate takeover of public education.
“We’re really focused on what we consider the ‘big battle’ right now, a group called California Competes (a group funded by the same people who fund ACCJC, the Lumina Group, etc.), they filed a lawsuit a year ago which would have repealed AB-1725, taking away faculty senates from community colleges,” Lienhart said.
She added, “We’re keeping a close eye on that.”
Toward the end of the meeting, the board and its trustees voted to approve a resolution on SB-850, which would allow a number of community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in specific majors.
While trustees Chadwick, Evilsizer and Nancy Ann Hensch agreed to the resolution, student trustee Genesis Gilroy voted no, which drew a bit of shock from Governing Board president Paul MacNamara.
“I’d like to know why you say nay, but we are beyond discussion so I’ll just talk to you after the meeting,” MacNamara said.
He added, “I’d like your thoughts on that and wish you had brought that up in discussion.”
With that, they ended the meeting and looked toward the next special meeting on April 22.