Guest View: Gavilan’s backdoor use of local bond funds

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

I read with interest the article in the San Jose Mercury News regarding the leasing of 27 acres for commercial development by Evergreen Valley College. The persons who wrote the article live in the San Jose ­ Evergreen Community College District. They felt that this decision would have long-lasting, negative impacts on Evergreen Valley College. They cited many legitimate concerns for opposing this lease. It is ironic that the leasing of these 27 acres will also have a long lasting negative impact on the voters/taxpayers of San Benito County. Because the police academy was located on the 27 acres, the academy would have to relocate to another location.
According to Steve Cushing, CEO of the Consortium, Evergreen Valley College notified the directors of the South Bay Regional Public Safety Training Consortium that they would have to relocate the police academy in early 2012. That’s about eight years a​fter​ the Gavilan Board of Trustees approved the specific list of projects that were presented to and approved by the voters on March 2, 2004. Clearly, the police academy at the satellite site in Coyote Valley c​ould not h​ave been on that list of specific projects.
The police academy at the satellite site in Coyote Valley was a​dded as a project​after 2012. On February 24, 2014, President Kinsella tells the oversite committee members that they will be using all the unused Measure E funds to set up the South Bay Public Safety Training Consortium at the satellite site in Coyote Valley. Obviously the police academy would be a n​ew project.
Prop 39 bond measures d​o​n​’t a​llow open-­ended or “catch all” development projects. The Gavilan College District cannot “back door” projects into expressly stated project lists where they were not disclosed or existing p​rior​to voter approval. Yet, that’s exactly what President Steve Kinsella and the board did.
Unfortunately, because of the Gavilan College Board of Trustees decision to misuse Measure E bond funds on the Police Academy at Coyote Valley, the taxpayers of San Benito County will be paying for this unauthorized project for years to come.

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