Guest View: Gavilan President Kinsella responds to critics

Gavilan College President Steve Kinsella speaks during the grand opening for the Gavilan College Veterans Resource Center Nov. 4, 2014.

In 2004, the voters of the Gavilan Joint Community College District passed Measure E, providing funds to renovate and expand the Gilroy campus and purchase land for future campuses at the northern and southern ends of the district. The work on the main campus was completed just this year. Land was purchased in both Coyote Valley and San Benito County for future campuses, and habitat mitigation is almost complete at both sites. Phase one of the Coyote Valley development is now under construction.
There have been some highly misleading and downright false allegations about the project in Coyote Valley, specifically that the Phase I development now underway—five modular buildings to provide instruction and student services—is somehow outside the scope of Measure E.
The bond language does not specify which academic or career subjects are to be taught at the site. The project list for Gavilan CCD’s local Prop. 39 bond Measure E can be found in the document linked below, in Exhibit B:
http://www.gavilan.edu/bond/documents/FINAL_Resolution_To_Board_11.11.03.pdf
On page B-3 there is a project entitled “Greater Morgan Hill Area Campus” which has now been named the “Coyote Valley Educational Center” :
GAVILAN COLLEGE—http://www.gavilan.edu/bond/documents/FINAL_Resolution_To_Board_11.11.03.pdfGREATER MORGAN HILL AREA CAMPUS • Establish Gavilan College Education Center to Accommodate Growth and Increasing Student Enrollment: To provide permanent classrooms, labs, job training and college transfer counseling buildings facilities in the Greater Morgan Hill area, including the acquisition of a site(s) to allow local students greater access to an affordable education. Improvements in the Greater Morgan Hill area campus will be made with a combination of bond monies and State matching funds.
Educational facilities often house multiple programs and disciplines over their lifespans. Certainly no one would argue that we should not teach mathematics in Coyote Valley (or in San Benito County) because that subject area was not spelled out in the bond language. Similarly, we assume that a computer science or yet-to-be-developed career program will be welcomed at the San Benito campus, even though the subject area was not specified.
Public safety training has been part of Gavilan College’s instructional programming for at least 40 years. We partner with nine other colleges in a partnership known as the South Bay Public Safety Training Consortium. We use partners to consolidate our training and lower overall cost per student, but it does not mean in any way that the Consortium “owns” the instructional program or facilities. The Coyote Valley Educational Center is a good location for Gavilan College’s public safety training because it serves a large number of Gavilan College students (10% of enrollment) and because the program needs a new site. Other subjects will also be offered at the site, a variety of general education and noncredit classes in various subjects (that were also not specified in the bond language.)
The free expression of views and opinions is a right we all share. However, repeating an opinion (as Mr. Aurelio Zuniga and others have done) does not change the fact that all of the expenditures of Measure E funds have been independently verified as being legal and appropriate based on the requirements of Proposition 39. The expenses have been attested to by external, licensed professionals who are trained on the requirements of the appropriateness of financial transactions.
We all look forward to the day when students in every community of our district will have access to the classes and services they need close to home. Facilities projects are long-term projects. The projects that we plan and pay for now will be here for the next generation, just as the facilities we enjoy today were provided for us by a prior generation.
Steve Kinsella is superintendent/president of Gavilan College.

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