Letter: Gavilan College trustee responds to criticism

Gavilan Collage officials from left Kent Child, Steve Kinsella, Laura Perry and Tom Breen are shown here when they allowed Gavilan College's aviation program to leave the Hollister airport.

In response to a view from Aurelio Zuniga on Gavilan’s use of local bond money on a Coyote Valley police academy:
Dear Aurelio,
There are some issues concerning Gavilan I believe need to be addressed. Our president would never intentionally or accidentally break the law. He would not recommend to the Gavilan Board that we do so in any manner. As a board member I would not do so either. I would not ever violate any provision of the law concerning Proposition 39 or the Measure E Bond passed by the voters of the district. You know that Gavilan has always prepared students for law enforcement opportunities. Exhibit A to the Measure E proposal stated its purpose to be “…to prepare students for jobs.” You expressed concern that the auditors were different for the most recent audit. That is the way it is supposed to work according to accounting firm policies as well as public entities. This is to avoid the development of a comfortable relationship between the audited institution and the auditors. Gavilan, and I hope most other educational institutions, have always changed auditing firms on a regular basis. Others express concern that San Benito County has not received its fair share of Measure E proceeds. As you know, the proceeds were aimed at rehabbing the campus facilities, which were approaching the end of their useful life plus were in need of reconfiguring to meet state standards. This was meant to benefit all the students of the district, not just residents of Santa Clara County and the funds did just that. We still have a way to go and some more funds will be necessary. Meanwhile we have purchased sites in both the north and south parts of the district and the South Bay Regional Consortium (Created in 1994 by Gavilan and Evergreen Valley College) will soon relocate to that site as well as other classes. The federal and state approvals regarding protected species are almost completed and serious work on further development here will be continued. The City of Hollister is embarking on an effort to use some of its remaining redevelopment land for short or long term use by Gavilan and our administration will be focusing on that project. My hope always has been that by the 100th anniversary of Gavilan (in 2019) we might see major progress in campus development here. It is still possible. I was sad to see that you hoped we would fail our audit but good progress continues to be made and I believe the future is bright for Gavilan, its students and the voters of the entire district. Thank for your continued and valued participation in this process.
Tom Breen, San Benito County

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