We hope the break afforded you a much needed and deserved period of relaxation and opportunity to recharge after what can only be described as a stressful Fall semester. As we begin the New Year, there are several updates to share:
First, we want to announce some changes and additions to our team: Professor Richard Newman will serve as the NCCFT Communications Coordinator. We need to reach out to our students and their families as well as to Nassau County’s business and political leaders to effectively communicate the negative impact the current Administration’s policies have had on the quality of education and services delivered by NCC. Please support his efforts. Richard will be reaching out to members for input regarding the Administration’s recent decisions and their impact on our students and us.
In addition, Dr. Stephanie Sapiie will serve as the NCCFT Legislative Liaison, an expansion of her role on the Political Action Committee. In this capacity Dr. Sapiie will seek to establish a professional relationship with various policymakers and communicate our concerns to the appropriate legislative body, while identifying legislation of consequence to the College.
NCCFT leaders have been busy during the intersession and we want you to know what’s been going on.
Vice-president Frank Frisenda attended the NYSUT HigherEd Council meeting in New York City. During this meeting, the devastating 2% tax cap and its impact on local communities was examined. Nassau Community College’s funding stream will be compromised by this tax cap. The educational component of the Governor’s State of the State address was also analyzed. The Governor has proposed several initiatives that threaten the quality of education and educators’ security: implementation of a new Tier 6 pension system, education funding coupled to teacher evaluations and competitive funding for HigherEd. In addition, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver spoke about the State’s commitment to funding Community Colleges. NYSUT is actively working with the Governor’s office, the Senate and Assembly on all these issues. Many issues facing campuses across the state were also discussed.
An issue of particular note is the apparent competition for funding that is a creation of the legislators. Here is how the “game” is played: when a K-12 or HigherEd member discusses education funding, the legislator will assert that funding for one group comes at the expense of the other. If confronted with such an assertion we recommend the following talking points:
- Funding for PreK-PhD must be a priority to insure student success, prosperity and security
- Funding for PreK-12 is essential to provide students the services and education needed to succeed in college and to provide teachers the services and support they need to continue to be effective.
- Funding for public higher education is essential to provide the education and services to students who cannot afford private school or the burdens of a lifetime of debt.
- These two institutions are so connected that failure during the Pre-college years assures failure in college. Failure in college almost certainly leads to life-long financial instability, along with other (expensive) serious social consequences that undermine the security of the nation.
- Free public education at all levels is the cornerstone of American democracy.
Vice-presidents James Hoyt and Frank Frisenda attended the BOT meeting on January 11, 2012. It was well attended by faculty and administration. The BOT approved a series of financial requests for: Capital spending, technology enhancements, travel, and contract expenditures. The BOT, with the exception of one personal service contract for the provision of financial services to the College, unanimously approved all requests. The lone “no” vote for that service contract was cast by trustee John Cornachio.
President Debbie DeSanto is currently representing the NCCFT on the CSEA Chancellor Award committees.
Most recently, this past weekend Vice-president Frank Frisenda, Treasurer Elizabeth Wood, newly named Communications Coordinator Richard Newman, and Political Action/Public Relations Co-chair Dawn Smith attended NYSUT’s regional leadership training. Frank and Dawn attended a weekend-long workshop on public relations while Richard and Elizabeth attended the workshop on developing union leaders.
One last thing: We’ve created a Facebook page as part of our effort to reach out to our students and the whole college community. If you have an account, you can find us by just clicking on the Facebook icon on the sidebar to the right.
Spring 2012 is off to a busy start and we will work hard to keep you informed. We wish everyone a productive semester as we work together to meet the challenges we face.