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Administrator's explanation for failing to follow grant plan refuted by consortium's minutes

Oceanside, CA - December 1, 2017, members of the public and students appeared before the Academic Senate for MiraCosta urging it not approve the faculty rankings approved by the Academic Affairs committee because the list failed to rank the faculty request for the Adults with Disabilities (AwD) program or mention how the position had funding behind it through the MiraCosta led adult education block grant consortium. A faculty request had been submitted to MIraCosta because full-time faculty has never been provided for the adults with disabilities program like other noncredit programs, and per the faculty request, full-time faculty was needed because:

i. “The Adults with Disabilities program does not have full time faculty to lead the program, coordinate course and program outcomes or facilitate robust dialogue about student success.”

ii. “[T]he program is unable to make the necessary improvements and develop partnerships that will ensure MiraCosta’s success;”

iii. “The district is out of compliance with existing Board Policies, Administrative Procedures and Collective Bargaining Agreements … since these regulations are predicated on having at least one full time faculty member in an academic department” (listing around 12 areas in which MiraCosta was out of compliance on pp. 2 and 4 of the faculty request);

iv. these regulations require a department chair to address student grievances and evaluate associate faculty.

The Adult Ed Block Grant specifically allows for funding of full-time faculty and a recommendation for faculty was included in the consortium's 3-year plan. As noted in the "AEBG Fiscal Management Guide," not only is funding for this "grant" program ongoing, but it can be used to "hire permanent staff, teachers and faculty."

However, before the Academic Senate voted on the ranking, Diane Dieckmeyer, VP of Instruction at MiraCosta, stated to the Academic Senate that the Consortium had cut the position so that funding was not available. Documents produced by MiraCosta, however, failed to support this position. The alleged cut was not reflected in any of the Consortium's agenda or minutes.

Dieckmeyer also stated the Consortium had made cuts to other recommendations for the AwD program, such as the recommendation that MIraCosta implement a two-year college-to-career program to help bridge the gaps of AwD to the workforce (see also Employment First Act making employment of AwD one of the state's "highest priorities) , but these similarly were not reflected in the Consortium's agenda or minutes. The explanation given was that the AwD program was not one of the "four pillars" targeted by the block grant funding and was merely a subgroup. A review of the block grant plan called an "AB86 Plan" contradicted the statement and instead showed that the AwD program was one of the primary programs targeted by the Consortium's funding and not a subgroup as was represented. The California Education Code does not use subgroups and sets forth adults with disabilities as one of the seven groups to be supported by the funding. CA Ed Code § 84913.

This administrator also alleged at the Academic Senate meeting that the college-to-career program recommended (CLEAR Paths), was "too costly;" however a review of the AB86 plan (researched and developed over a two year period by professional researchers and consortium members) showed that this type of program is usually implemented at "low to no cost" to the sponsoring community college.

The public learned that instead of funding the faculty request for the AwD program, the Consortium had instead allocated over $71,000 to pay for an employee for the federal grant program which gets its own federal funding through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), even though this position was not recommended or approved in the Consortium's 3-year plan. Both WIOA and the Adult Block Grant program disallow the use of public funds for administrative costs that exceed 5% and only allow the funding of items approved or included in the Consortium's AB86 and other plans. The administration's lack of responses to the public's concerns has triggered additional review of MiraCosta practices per at least one advocate.

Click these links for more on concerns raised about WIOA and the Adult Ed Block Grant Act.

#MiraCosta #AEBG #DianeDieckmeyer

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