The Board of Trustees approved the adoption of a 2015/2016 academic calendar without a winter intersession on Wednesday night, rubber-stamping the recommendation of interim superintendent Bob Miller.
Miller submitted his calendar recommendation – markedly similar to the current calendar – for the 2015-2016 school year to the Board of Trustees along with the winter calendar recommended by the College Calendar Committee and College Council.
During public comment, PCC professor Kristin Pilon argued that there is an ongoing lack of mutual cooperation in shared governance decisions.
“All major campus constituent bodies have approved the return of this college to a calendar with winter intersession,” Pilon said to the board. “Your failure to heed shared governance will only prolong the present pattern of violation.”
Despite the support from the Associated Students and many vocal proponents among the student body and faculty, Miller stated that he did not recommend a calendar including a winter intersession for this coming academic year because of the adverse effects the immediate change could have on students, the technical problems that could arise with the adoption of winter for the next academic year without proper preparation and his hesitation to make such a major change before the hiring of a new superintendent.
“I want to be clear on this that this is my recommendation that I put a lot of time and effort and thought into,” said Miller. “I certainly believe as we go into the 16/17 year there is a much greater reflection that we as an institution need to do in relation to a winter intersession.”
In the recommendation he submitted to the board, Miller stated the change in the 2015-2016 academic calendar will affect the disbursement of student financial aid. The current disbursement schedule has already been submitted for the next academic year, as the deadline was January 31. If a winter calendar were to be adopted for the next academic year, some students may have to wait for their financial aid to arrive with their spring disbursement.
He also stated that the school needs adequate time to reprogram the portal that students register for classes through – Banner by Ellucian–to accommodate a winter intersession. The Information Technology Services department would need to accomplish this by the time summer registration begins on April 9.
The Public Employment Relations Board decision was a point of contention during the board’s discussion of the possible adoption of a winter calendar in the future. A clause in the approved Faculty Association contract for 2013-2016 states that calendar negotiations can be reopened pending PERB’s decision on the Pasadena Area Community College district’s appeal of their 2013 ruling that the district violated the Educational Employment Relations Act by unilaterally implementing a 2012-2013 trimester calendar.
Student Trustee Marshall Lewis disagreed that the PERB ruling should affect the board’s decision on whether to reinstate winter for the 2015/2016 academic calendar, stating that the FA agreement didn’t inhibit shared governance from changing the calendar.
“It’s a chicken and egg situation, Trustee Lewis,” said Miller. “If we move forward with the shared governance recommendation without negotiating the impact of the working conditions then we have a problem.”
The Board of Trustees approved Miller’s recommendation for a 2015/2016 calendar with one dissenting advisory vote from student trustee Marshall Lewis.
“This calendar issue only comes up around January and if we continue on that path every single time we talk about the calendar it is going to be too late,” said Lewis.
Dr. Robert Bell, who chairs the College Calendar Committee, said that committee would move forward with discussing a calendar for the 2016/2017 academic year in their next meeting on March 26 in order to have something to present to the board early next fall.