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Local News

With Three Newcomers, SBCC Trustees Begin Transition

With three new members joining four incumbents, the Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees seems poised to embark on a major transition.

At a meeting Thursday, members of SBCC’s governing board discussed matters ranging from board structure to priorities, with topics including possibly reorganizing board committees, electing a new board president and engaging the community.

The three new members elected Nov. 6 — Veronica Gallardo, Marianne Kugler and Craig Nielsen — attended the meeting, but will have to wait until next Thursday to be sworn in.

“There has been a lot going on,” trustee Marsha Croninger noted.

A key topic was a mission statement for the board and SBCC.

“We will either reaffirm our existing mission statement, although I suspect we will completely revise it,” Superintendent/President Lori Gaskin said.

The board has been working on revising its policies since SBCC was put on notice by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges earlier this year.

The policies were brought up again when uncertainty arose about how the board could reach out to the community more without overstepping its boundaries.

“I’d like people to know about (the meetings) and be able to come,” Croninger said. “The thing that is going to be hardest, from my point of view, is policies we don’t have.”

Trustee Lisa Macker suggested having more gatherings like the recent forums regarding SBCC’s Center for Continuing Learning, in order to better involve the community, and increasing cooperation with other local school boards.

She also suggested adding two more board committees, one to focus specifically on infrastructure, and the other on the budget and finance of the college.

The board liked the idea.

Current committees, which are subgroups of the board with three trustees each and focusing on a specific college division, include fiscal, facilities, educational policies and community relations.

Trustee Marty Blum proposed a rotation of seats, expressing her desire to become the board president. Current president Peter Haslund agreed.

“For right now, I have time next year, and I want to become more active at the state level, too — on community college league,” Blum told Noozhawk. “I think every president ... leaves their mark on it. I can’t tell you what mine will be yet ... there will be some things that happen. It’s the nature of new president.”

Macker, the current vice president, said she’s interested in continuing in that role.

The board will vote for a new president and vice president at its next meeting.

Also, the members will be trained on the Brown Act, California’s open-meeting law, and board ethics.

“This law derives from a time when major decisions were made in smoke-filled rooms where the doors were always closed to the public,” Haslund said in an an agenda attachment for the meeting. “This act is in the public interest and I take it seriously.”.

Noozhawk intern Gabriella Slabiak can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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