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|Political Philosophy for Jozef Thomas Essavi|
We can not afford 51% graduation failure rates. We need change. Reforming our unresponsive LACCD Board of Trustees must become a priority for all of us. Our priority must be the improvement in and accessibility to education for all of our District's residents especially those financially and physically vulnerable.
Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees has become an exclusive, unaccountable, and arrogant "tax and waste" club of 7 special interest supported politicians, whose primary task isn't Education but rather to help each other get elected and re-elected, or to move to higher political positions in order to keep the status quo alive and well. The board has insulated itself in its "Taj Mahal Style" district headquarters in Down Town LA and has wasted millions to renovate this underutilized building. We don't need a rubber stamp for failure.
Every campus is unique and demographically different. We can not continue to fail our students, teachers, taxpayers, and administrators.
Students: 51% failure in graduation rate is unacceptable. Under current board, student newspapers have gone out of existence and students are shut out of their advisory role when it comes to their needs. Under this board the fees went up to $20 per unit. Books are so expensive that some students can't afford them anymore thus dropping out completely.
My pledge to students: Rotating Board of Trustees meetings between all nine campuses which will open direct access between the board and the teachers, students, administrators, and taxpayers. Lowering student fees and bringing the cost of books under control. Increasing public/private partnerships for additional scholarships and vocational and job training. Increasing student transfer chances, by creating new local and nationwide relationships with four year universities will increase enrollments and add value.
Professors and faculty: Part time Professors have to shuttle back and forth between campuses to make a living. This has taken their focus away from teaching students and on driving in the traffic. Joint governance by Faculty Senate has suffered as well as the District has become responsive to special interests and not professors.
My pledge to professors and faculty: Tenure for part time professors that will take from driving time and add to classroom and student focused instruction time and elevating the Faculty Senate to its rightful position within the District's decision making process. Recruiting and keeping the already tenured quality professors so that experience will not be lost to higher paying educational institutions.
Taxpayers: Taxpayers have been asked and have passed generously $5.7 Billion in construction money just to see endless design and project delays, inadequate planning and millions of dollars wasted on construction penalties and fees. While over building has gone on and on making campuses uninviting. This board has undermined Proposition 13 every time it was afforded the opportunity. Closed door budget sessions have become the norm where in a matter of two hours millions of taxpayer dollars are spent without a see through process.
My pledge to taxpayers: Once elected, my first order of business will be to ask an independent outside firm to audit the district finances so that the taxpayers can trust the Trustee once again. I will stop any future Tax Increases from making it on the ballot until adequate public hearings and notifications are made and assurance has been secured not to waste anymore taxpayer money. I will also invite taxpayers, teachers, students, and administrators to be part of the budgeting process.
Administrators: The board has micro-managed the district to a standstill by removing popular college presidents by shuffling them to different campuses against their will.
My pledge to administrators: Give each campus administration full performance based autonomy to undertake what it sees as priorities for that particular campus and stop the board from stifling the decisions made by the nine campuses.
I wished that I could have a rosier picture of the state of affairs in LACCD but this has taken years to accumulate and with your help, once elected, we will reform the LACCD. I humbly ask for your vote and trust and once elected I promise to be "A Trustee for All of Us".
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