We must focus on our mission and vision

­­­Payments to the chancellor’s office 
Since 2007, Lassen Community College has been penalized by the State Chancellor’s Office for the sins of past leaders. The original amount owed was $1,708,423. Our last payment of $162,047 will be paid on June 30.

This is a cause for celebration. At our next board meeting on July 10, we will celebrate this accomplishment.

Celebrate our mothers and fathers 
In the months of May and June, we honor our mothers and our fathers. Father’s Day was scheduled for Sunday, June 17. Since we missed the opportunity to celebrate our mothers in last month’s Reflection, I will equally recognize the important people in our lives.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is a celebration honoring the matriarch and patriarch of our families as well as these bonds and their influences in society. We know this is truly a daily celebration, however, Mother’s Day became a national holiday in 1914. It wasn’t until 1972 that Father’s Day was finally officially proclaimed a national holiday, despite being celebrated for several decades prior.

The influence of our parents is very important to the development of us all. These individuals are our first positive role models.
At Lassen Community College, we celebrate the roles, responsibilities and influence of our parents.

Despite the strange weather on May 25, we held our 92nd Commencement Ceremony for Lassen College. Nearly a century ago, LCC opened its doors to the surrounding community and has since then grown into a competitive and viable option for those looking to continue their education. At our ceremony in the sports complex, more than 500 people were in attendance.

First of all, 14 of our 2018 graduates are Lassen College Foundation Scholarship recipients. As scholarship recipients, they were able to move from LCC debt-free from loans as long as they maintained 15 units and a 2.5 GPA.

The Class of 2018 was awarded 229 degrees and 199, 170 associate of arts degrees, 59 associate of science degrees, and 40 associate degrees for transfer were awarded to our students. Fifty-two of our graduates are planning to transfer to places such as: University of Nevada-Reno, UC-Davis, Simpson University, University of Wyoming, Humboldt State, Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology, Arizona State University, CSU-Chico, University of Nebraska, Brescia University, Western Oregon, University of Providence Montana, Ashford University and Sacramento State.

In addition to the celebration that night, we honored two retiring instructors, Sue Mouck and Nancy Bengoa-Beterbide. Professor Mouck has served Lassen Community College for more than 30 years as a biology instructor, dean, vice president, assistant superintendent, interim superintendent/president and under me, as the interim executive vice president. Professor Bengoa-Beterbide has served Lassen Community College for more than 18 years as a counselor and administration of justice instructor.

Our Alumnus of the Year award was given to Motare Ngiratmab, who currently serves as the EOPS program as an advising specialist. Our commencement speaker was Dr. Joe Wyse, superintendent/ president at Shasta College. The John McCollum Memorial Scholarship award winner was Tiler Whiteaker.

Fire pit area 
As you stroll the campus to the area in front of the Cougar Lair, you will find the patio has received a landscaping facelift. The improvements to the patio include the addition of several drought-tolerant trees and flowers, and decorative rock that surrounds a huge concrete structure … a fire pit. The fire pit will serve as a gathering point for campus-wide activities and events such as outdoor concerts, campfire roasts, meetings, classes, movies on the lawn, night student rallies, the ever-elusive marmot watch, as well as fundraising and other alumni and celebratory functions.

For the past four years, Director of Facilities, Greg Collins spoke strongly about the need to improve student life at Lassen Community College. This quest to bring student life to the Lassen Community College is finally coming to fruition.

This new gathering area on campus, complete with landscaping, seating and the fire pit, will be an area of activity for the Lassen Community College community.

This new initiative under guided pathways and student equity will increase student involvement on campus.

Lassen CollegeFoundation updates 
At last night’s Lassen College Foundation meeting, the Board of Directors approved the following proposals: A fundraising proposal for summer concerts in the fire pit area.

The Foundation will pay 50 percent of the cost for new treadmills in the fitness center.

Approval of an updated job description for a director of development, alumni and community relations.

Funding formula updates 
On Friday, June 8, I received emails from various sources in Sacramento concerning the budget agreement which includes the new funding formula for California Community Colleges.

The budget agreement includes the governor’s proposed funding formula (as amended in the May revise) with some modifications.

Subsequent to the May Revise, the department of finance committed to two changes in the proposal. First, the proposal was amended to include a new stability provision, which specifies that each year a district would receive the greater of their past year or current year funding. Second, the proposal no longer includes any changes to existing provisions related to summer enrollment. The summer shift returns, so current practices continue.

The additional modifications of the budget agreement are as follows:
A three-year phase-in of the formula, with the model designed to provide 70 percent for the base allocation, 20 percent for the equity allocation, and 10 percent for the student success allocation in 2018-19 (a 70-20-10 split), with a 65-20-15 split in 2019-20 and a 60-20-20 split in 2020-21.

As part of the equity and student success allocations, use of counts for all College Promise Grant recipients, rather than only College Promise Grant recipients age 25 and over (as was proposed in the May Revision).

Extension of the discretionary funds to cover a three-year period, which guarantees that all districts would receive funding increases at least equal to the cost-of-living adjustment for those three transition years.

The agreement creates an oversight body to monitor implementation of the new formula and make recommendations to the chancellor’s office and to the governor and the legislature for improvements.

The budget agreement includes funding for the online community college proposed by the governor — $120 million for 2018-19 (with $100 million one-time and $20 million ongoing). It also includes additional language to specify alignment between the online college and other community colleges.

The agreement gives $35 million one-time to support the Online Education Initiative, which will help expand and improve online education at our colleges.

Finally, it includes $50 million for additional full-time faculty at our colleges and $50 million one-time for support of part-time faculty office hours.

The budget will be presented to both houses of the legislature for approval, with a deadline of June 15 for their actions. If approved, it will be presented to the governor for his signature.

The important thing for Lassen Community College, if the agreement is approved, we will not be facing $1 million in cuts. The Rural Allocation remains for the 11 community colleges, including Lassen.

I received an email from Christian Osmena from the State Chancellor’s Office requesting that I send a letter for one last push on the budget. My letter will be going out tomorrow morning.

One of my goals for the 2017-18 year was to increase our FTES by 1 percent. According to recent data figures presented by VP of Administrative Services, Dave Clausen, at a consultation council meeting, our FTES have improved 8 percent for this year.
Recently, I read an article written by a community college president at Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kansas, where he stated the following:

“It is more difficult to think critically about the widespread belief among educators that they, not the communities we serve, know best. For those in our communities, lofty and abstract notions tied to a college education bear little meaning if a degree does not actually improve their lives in some tangible way. Liberal (Kansas) was once a place where a high school graduate could get a decent paying job that provided a comfortable living. But, those days are over.

Automation has taken hold and farms continue to consolidate into corporate interests. The type of available jobs in Liberal has shifted and in place of the careers of yesteryear is a skills gap that afflicts many communities across the country.”

The National Student Clearinghouse found in 2016 that only 50 percent of rural high school graduates enroll in college — a rate lower than urban and suburban peers. Also, 28 percent of rural adults have associates or bachelors degrees — 13 percentage points lowered than the share for urban adults.

However, we are positioned to tackle these issues.

Provide higher education at a low cost.

Providing career and technical training programs.

Providing direct transfer opportunities to our local four-year institutions.

Adult education opportunities for all seeking high school diplomas, GED or HI-Set.

Guided pathways.

Flexible degree programs for the working adults.

Finally, we must refine our programs to meet the needs of our region without sacrificing the quality of education, while continuing to connect with our longstanding regional community members and forge understanding with newcomers to our region. We must also continue to focus on our mission and vision.