The Feather River College Board of Trustees meeting held in the Greenville High School Library on March 21 could be characterized by one aspect — a near constant request for clarification of agenda items by new trustee Trent Saxton.
As the board began to review the proposed agenda, Saxton wanted immediate clarifications on budget items — spending considerable time ascertaining the language and amount ($79,000) left over from the student housing known as The Pines. While the project was complete, FRC planned to earmark the remainder for an eventual new roof and asphalt. As it wasn’t specified that way in writing, Saxton objected.
Using language such as “I’m just trying to do my job as a taxpayer,” and “I was told last month that this building was complete,” Saxton set the tone for the meeting.
“I don’t like being told something is paid for and it’s not,” said Saxton. “If we’re going to rubber stamp we need to track these things.”
“I hate floating funds. I just want to make sure this money is accounted for,” he continued.
He also questioned a budget item concerning a regional K-14 Career Pathway event that will take place in Redding in mid-June and wanted more information on the $15,565 expenditure for rooms and food.
With each of the regular agenda items that were fairly routined and mostly concerning compliance with standard required language, Saxton raised issues. Those votes included language on nepotism, child abuse reporting, a faculty equivalency made for instructor Lindsey Ball, and the new Equal Employment Opportunity Plan.
Feather River College will begin to follow the standards set forth at other community colleges to consider the decades-old educational data which states that students often respond better to instructors of similar background without the barriers of socio-economics, ethnic homogeneity, or other typical orientations.
In practice, this will mean FRC would actively recruit teachers from diverse backgrounds. David Burris, the human resources director, offered background information to Saxton on that item. Burris suggested different marketing tactics would yield candidates that better fit the diversity of the student body.
Several presentations were made to the board. Dean of Instruction Derek Lerch provided information on the Acceleration Project to consolidate pre-college level courses in English and Math as well as to give an update on the number of full-time equivalent students.
Jerry Thomas, accompanied by Trina Cunningham, made a presentation on the Ya-mani Maidu Cultural Association.
President Kevin Trutna, along with Lerch, reported back to the board about district goal setting.
FRC instructor Darrel Jury gave a compelling presentation on the need for a wildfire plan of action and a half-time instructor for fire education, planning, and execution of fire safety on campus.
The last big fire was in 1946 and according to Jury there’s been little management of the surrounding timberlands of the college except the buildup of fuel and fire suppression. The water tanks are made of wood and there’s only one road into campus and only that same road out. Additionally, hoses were directed to be removed in the early 2000s by the insurance company, according to plant manager Nick Boyd who was present to field questions.
Jury stated that in this era of new concern over wildfires and safety that funding and interest are available for such a position.
Currently the environmental studies faculty are taking an interest in building trails, managing the forest, and attempting fuel reduction, but it is not in the description of their contracts to be doing this work.
Jury sees the idea for a cohesive plan as a win-win situation for the college. It could become a demonstration site for forest management practices and an educational model for forestry and other students.
Board of Trustee president Dr. Dana Ware was not present at the meeting.