End of Spring Message from Jack Swanson

Image of blossoms. US Government work.

Dear colleagues,

I’m writing to wish you all a good end of the semester, hoping you enjoy the fine moment of Commencement and then the respite of summer – however you spend it.  Best wishes from the CCFF.

I’m also writing to ask you if you remember last fall?  Fall 2012?  How about Proposition 30?  Do you remember that?

Do you remember that Prop 30’s failure meant triggering $338 million in cuts to California community colleges?   Remember?

Failure meant denying admission to 180,000 more students than the 500,000 our colleges had already turned away.

Here at Cerritos College, Prop 30’s failure would have meant no summer school.  None.  Zero.  Any discussion of faculty pay, whether pro-rata or overload, would have sounded quaint, academic – curious, like a debate over mimeograph machines and ink.  Oh, yes, and failure would also mean that the District would seek a 3% cut to faculty pay.  Remember?

How about health benefits?  The District proposed reducing its contribution to health benefits and asked that we begin “premium sharing” – i.e., faculty pay 3% of the cost of healthcare (and more when costs rose).  And if Prop 30 were to fail, make that premium sharing 5%?


It was a dark and stormy fall.

But Prop 30 did pass.  Thanks in large part to the work of unions like ours, Californians voted to increase their our taxes by 25 cents for every $100.00 spent and to raise slightly the marginal tax rates on those who make over $250,000 per year.  Prop 30 passed, so instead of a $338 million hit, California community colleges stand to realize an additional $210 million.

For Cerritos College, it meant there would be summer school after all:  Students in the classrooms, faculty at the lecterns and white boards, and a future not dimming but growing brighter, lumen by lumen, moment by teaching moment.

Yes, we did trade pro-rata for overload pay, but, again, Cerritos College is offering summer school.  And the CCFF was able to convince the District to reallocate a portion of the money saved by the sacrifice of pro-rata to full-time faculty base pay, a total increase of 7%.

In addition, we were able to revise and expand leaves for the birth of a child and for bereavement. The CCFF also got office hours for part-time faculty.  Yes, part-time faculty will receive less than the standard hourly pay, but it’s a start, and the District has agreed to discuss the issue again next fall.

And health benefits.  The CCFF secured a 3-year agreement on health benefits:  for 2013 and 2014, the district will cover the full cost of PERSChoice family coverage; for 2015, the District will pay a maximum of $20,505.  It is a measure of security for us all.

I should also mention some awards:  the CFT awarded our local a $3000 grant for our Membership Organizing Committee; our local took first place in the state for highest percent increase in membership; and our CCFF President, Solomon Namala, was recognized as one of the Outstanding Faculty members of Cerritos College.

Withal, the CCFF and Cerritos College have weathered a pretty nasty patch – “The worst time for community colleges I have ever seen,” according to President Lacy – and yet we have emerged stronger, if leaner, and enjoying a campus climate of cooperation and collegiality, some of the best days that many of us have ever seen.

Oh, yes.  One last thing:  on Wednesday, the first of May, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved a seat for the CCFF President at the table.

Great thanks to all of you, and, again, enjoy your summer.


Jack Swanson
Communications co-chair