Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Funding to foster Solano Community College's growth

Article Last Updated: 1/18/2006 06:57 AM

Funding to foster SCC's growth

By David Henson/Staff Writer

Millions of dollars in grants and construction projects are building a better Solano Community College, Superintendent-President Paulette Perfumo said Tuesday during her annual "state of the college" address to faculty and staff.
Despite an informal boycott of the speech by members of the SCC teachers' union, Perfumo doled out praise for the funding, the projects and the compliments the college is racking up.

A $6 million state grant will double the size of the college's nursing program, which has a 260-student waiting list, and a $1.3 million federal grant will help the business department create a new insurance certification program at SCC.

"It does bring in additional resources so we aren't totally reliant on the state's limited resources," Perfumo said.

In addition, the college's ongoing construction program, funded by a $100 million bond, will solicit bids during the next two months for two major projects - a $13 million extension campus in Vallejo and an $11 million new student services building on its main campus in Fairfield.

The college's periodic accreditation garnered several commendations for innovation, community involvement and internal collaboration from a regional evaluating team, Perfumo said.

In addition, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's initial budget provides a higher cost-of-living adjustment - 5.18 percent - than previous years, as well as sizable equalization money - $130 million statewide.

"The governor really has been spanked in the special election and gotten the message he shouldn't mess with education," Perfumo said. "That was evident by the surprises found in the initial budget."

However, Perfumo's optimistic address was shadowed somewhat by the informal boycott of the 90-minute speech by the teachers' union.

"We were just telling people they have the option of how to spend their time, particularly at this time when we're getting ready for classes," said Diane White, local teachers union president.

Instead of attending the speech, which was a required part of a paid staff development workday, the union's executive board spent the extra hour and a half strategizing about deadlocked contract negotiations, said White.

Teachers' contracts expired in June 2005, and the college and union have been unable to reach an agreement on a number of issues, she said.

Though doubtful, the college could dock the pay of teachers' who skipped the meeting.

Perfumo and White both said they didn't know how many teachers failed to show up at the address.

David Henson can be reached at

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