Dr. Jean Conway: Good morning.
>> Good morning.
Dr. Jean Conway: It's so great to see you here.
We are delighted to be able to host the first of several of these DCCCD Board of Trustee Candidate forums.
This is sponsored by and coordinated by the Dallas County Community College District Faculty Association and led by our Eastfield Student Government Association.
So once I can welcome you and get things going, you will see that the Faculty Association and the Student Government Association will sort of take over, blending this discussion.
Again we are delighted to have both faculty and students involved, and we're delighted that you came for this important grassroots effort to get to know your candidates.
This is such an excellent way for you to be an informed voter.
We are a Dallas County Community College district, and we want to be very involved with the community and be accessible to the community.
And so we are pleased that you as community members and as members of the DCCCD student body and the employee group are here to learn, to be more informed voters.
I want to introduce to you the president of our student government association, who is going to be handling the questions, be the moderator for the questions.
Let me tell you a little bit about him.
Actually, I don't think I told you my name.
I should have began by doing that.
I'm Dr. Jean Conway, and I'm President here at Eastfield College.
Danny Lam currently serves as the Eastfield Student Government Association President.
And as President, Danny establishes the vision for the group.
He delegates tasks and roles among the SGA executive board.
He establishes appropriate communities, assists in running student led initiatives, leads all of the SGA meetings, and represents Eastfield in local, regional, and state levels.
He is heavily involved within his community through different service projects.
He also holds other leadership positions at Eastfield such as Vice President of the Rotaract Club and Vice President of Fellowship of the Psi Eta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa which is our Honor Society.
Danny is majoring in biomedical engineering and planning to transfer to the University of Texas at Dallas for the fall of 2016 semester.
Danny is an outstanding student, an outstanding student leader, and has learned a lot at Eastfield about becoming an even better leader.
And I know you will enjoy having Danny Lam to lead and moderate this session.
Would you please give hand for Danny Lam?
Danny Lam: All right, thank you so much, Dr. Conway, for the amazing introduction.
Once again, good morning everyone.
Welcome to our DCCCD trustee candidacy forum.
So once again my name is Danny Lam.
I am the current president of Eastfield College's Student Government Association.
On behalf of my fellow officers and members of the student government and the student body we would like to proudly welcome our trustee candidates to Eastfield College.
And this is the first of four DCCCD trustee candidate forums.
Now would our candidates rise up and introduce yourself from left to right please, beginning with Richard Morgan?
Richard Morgan: Good morning, my name is Richard Morgan, and it's great to be back here at Eastfield.
For those of you who don't know me, I was an Eastfield student in 2005.
This is where I started my college journey.
I eventually transferred to DBU, Dallas Baptist, and now I'm a software engineer.
I've worked with technology companies all across DFW and some that are outside of the area.
The reason I'm running is I want to keep the community colleges strong and make sure that each student in this room has a chance to succeed in their career, to get good jobs when they graduate.
And I know what it's like to be a community college student because I've been one.
I know what it's like to juggle your classes with a job, because I worked my way through college for three years, working full-time, taking night classes, summer classes, mini terms anywhere I could fit them in.
I know a lot of the challenges that students here face.
I'm ready to get to work to improve our already great system and take it to the next level and so I'd love to earn your support.
J.C. Osborne: Good morning, my name is J.C. Osborne, I have a bachelor's degree in political science.
I have an associates degree in interdisciplinary studies, a master's degree in public affairs, and a juris doctorate.
And I was also the 2014 Green Party Candidate for Attorney General.
The reason that I'm running is because, as I just said it, my bachelor degree is in political science.
And I see a lot of students deciding to pursue their studies in liberal arts, and unfortunately a degree such as political science doesn't have such a great demand in the job market.
And so I would like to steer students toward STEM programs, which are programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, because that's where the job market is.
And I would like to focus the resources that are being spent on academic programs away from liberal arts into STEM programs.
Thank you very much.
Phil Ritter: Well, good morning.
My name is Phil Ritter, and I'm running because I have a lifelong interest in education and public policy.
I went to undergrad and law school at the University of Maryland and came down to Texas and got a degree from the LBJ school of public affairs while I was working at the legislature.
I moved to Dallas, and I practiced corporate law for a couple years.
But the bulk of my career was at Texas Instruments where I was an attorney and also involved in government and public affairs.
And that gave me the chance to really get involved in the community and to help support the community college district.
I served for many, many years on the Dallas County Community College District Foundation and was deeply involved in the fundraising effort for the Rising Star Scholarship Program.
We've raised close to $30 million to provide scholarships to students in this district.
And in 2004, I was asked to chair the last bond campaign that the Dallas County Community College District had.
And I was part of a team that went out and convinced the community to invest $450 million into the Dallas County Community College district.
So what this institution does, what you are all about, has been a passion of mine for a long, long time.
And I hope to be able to continue to support you and the district as a trustee.
Gene Robinson: Good morning My name is Gene Robinson.
I appreciate y'all having me here today.
I have been a lifelong educator.
I'm a 23 year veteran.
In the Dallas County Community College District and spent 23 years teaching and working at Brookhaven College.
I'm a former PSS employee as well.
My life has be dedicated to education.
I have a masters degree in education from the University of Texas in Dallas.
I'm running in District 2, along with these other gentleman.
That's the northern area going all the way down to El Centro.
I'll tell you very briefly why I decided to run.
My career came to an abrupt end in the Community College District in 2014.
This was not my choice.
It was decided by administration that my salary needed to be eliminated, and my position.
Student services that were available to you all were closed because of the budget crisis.
That same year, Brookhaven College spent $5 million on building two new concrete parking lots.
But student services could not be continued.
That's an example of some of the things that I seek to change in this district.
I feel like that's mismanagement from the top down.
And I'm here today to assure you as PSS employees, which I know a lot of you are, as faculty and as students, I no longer want to see the budget of this Community College District balanced on your backs while administration continues to garner their salaries.
Thank you for having me.
Frank Millsap: I'm Frank Millsap, I teach here at the campus.
I've been at the district 41 years as a faculty member.
I came from Oklahoma.
I have a bachelors degree in landscape architecture, a master's degree in horticulture, and ABD in sports turf management.
I also have a degree from junior college in Oklahoma, from way back when.
And I also have a degree in auto body and technology here.
I started the landscaping management program at Richland, and it became the only school in the state of Texas with national accreditation.
It was the first junior college in the nation with national accreditation.
Back in 86 I received a phone call one day from a lady from the embassy in Taiwan out in Washington DC and she said, we would like for you to come and visit.
And I went there and was honored with a reception with the minister of education.
And in 2002 I was awarded first outstanding educator of year national award for landscape management.
So, and I have actually lived through and survived all the chancellors, so [LAUGH] I have actually seen the evolution of the district from one end to the other.
I think we have a tremendous opportunity to grow and develop with a few changes, minor changes, most of them are minor,.
How do we improve this system to make it more student user friendly?
And the end result is student results and student employability.
I'd like to ask for your vote and support.
Dorthy Zimmermann: Hello, I'm Dorthy Zimmermann, and it feels like we're being interrogated.
The lights are really bad.
But yes, I basically got started in 2012.
April of 2012 was my very first board meeting.
I went to just see what was going on because I had heard kind of crazy things.
And indeed, I was not disappointed.
I was really surprised at how the money was spent, how it was authorized.
I've seen all sorts of spending that basically raises tuition.
And I'm really not sure that the way your money, your tuition money is being spent is being handled in the best way possible.
Knowing that I was also an Eastfield student.
I know that my tuition money came very dearly, because, as I was discussing earlier, we could afford daycare or we could afford for me to go to school.
So I had to wait until my daughter was in kindergarten, and then I worked my education around hers.
So I understand about taking care of money.
I understand about making sure that you don't come up short.
There's a lot of times that well, do you get lunch or do you not get lunch?
And that is the decisions that are being made.
And at the point that tuition is going up, and tuition is going up.
And if they do raise tuition every two years, 2016 is going to be the next vote for an increase for 2017.
Well, in 2010, it was $41 a college hour.
Today it is $59 a college hour.
I'm not really sure that you're getting $18 more per semester hour for your tuition than the folks in 2010 did.
And that is a concern for me, because if we make education elite, only the elite will have education.
And I could've never, I could've never gone on with the jobs that I held had I not had a four-year degree.
So I'm thinking about y'all and the taxpayers too, because that is who we all are.
Monica Lira Bravo: Hello, my name is Monica Lira Bravo and I'm running for District 4 Board of Trustees.
District 4 covers Eastdale College and surrounding areas.
And so if you live in this area, I think you should pay attention to District 4 candidates.
It includes parts of East Dallas, all of Mesquite, parts of Pleasant Grove, pretty much from here east to the county line south of Starden.
So if you live in the area, I definitely encourage you to ask questions to District 4 candidates.
I'm running because I think that I'm qualified for this position.
I am a board certified immigration attorney and owner of my own law firm.
And I know the power of education because I struggled to get to where I am today.
My parents are immigrants, had nothing more than a second grade education.
And so I struggled, as many of you first-generation college students I'm sure struggle, to figure out how to get to college, what classes to take, and how to pay for it.
I'm thankful that I was able to get this through combinations of loans and scholarships, that unfortunately now may not be as available as they were back then.
And so I'm running because I care about our students, I care about our community being educated.
And being able to access tuition and keep it accessible, keep it low, try and get funding maybe from our state so that our taxes don't have to go up, and so more of our students can continue going into either trade programs or an associates degree.
And so I think also my experience as a business owner gives me the ability to know how to review financial statements, oversee budgets.
Also I've served on several boards, including the Dallas Bar Association.
I'm the past president of the Dallas County Bar Association, so I'm very familiar with policy and governance documents.
And so I hope that I can account on your support.
Please if you ask, do you have any questions?
Please feel free to ask today.
>> Thank you.
Martha Jo Talbot: Hello, my name is Martha Jo Talbot.
And I'm proud to be here today.
Feels real comfortable to me to be here on this stage in this educational community because I am an educator.
I received from Bachelors Degree from East Texas State University, which is now Texas A&M Commerce.
And my Master's Degree from the same institution.
And my Bachelors is in Elementary Education and Library Science.
My Masters is in Education.
After that, I earned certifications in supervision, then mid-managemet.
Then I went back and received a secondary English certification as well an all level Art certification.
So education just seems to be continuous for me.
I enjoy it very much.
I have spent my life as a teacher, as an educator, and as a school administrator.
And I am ready at this time to look at serving in another way to make decisions to keep this great community college system here, for all of our students, and provide you with the best possible education, possible.
And continue to have wonderful staff members here for you.
Brad Underwood: Good morning.
My name's Brad Underwood, and I'm from this community.
I grew up at the Mesquite, about half a mile up the Thompson river.
My family is from this area and they moved here back in the 60s from Ohio.
They were all blue collar workers, every one of my family.
The men were union members, they were laborers, operators, if you don't know what that is in the construction world, they have different classes of people that get paid based on what they do, that was my family history.
My mom was a housewife.
She raised me the best she could.
I grew up with dyslexia, didn't even know I had it.
Didn't know that I had it until my daughter was diagnosed with it just a few years ago.
I have four children.
My son's here, my daughter, the oldest one attends TWU, my wife's an educator for Mesquite Middle School.
And I've grown up here, lived here my whole life.
Raised four children.
And I'm very proud of this community.
I'm here for one reason.
I'm here for the students, the faculty, and the parents, the tax payers, the people who pay bills.
The thing that I see in our community that is a lot of people are struggling.
They're struggling to make the tuition.
I've talked to a lot of students, talked to a lot of parents about the topic of the possible textbooks, the cost of the education.
There's a lot of rumor out there hey we're going to give free education away.
Why don't we first make it affordable?
Let's quit raising tuition on the students, let's live within our means, let's take the time to examine our budgets and not just spending plans.
I see a spending plan all over the place.
If you don't know this, right now Texas is the second highest in local debt the nation second to New York.
Texans usually don't like being associated with New Yorker's.
But that's what we got.
We're the second worst at putting debt on the next generation.
For your students that are in here.
You're having to pay higher property taxes for that.
And it's going to hamper you in taking care of your family.
And for the students that are trying to attend now but the tuition levels that they're at, a lot of you are having to cut back on the hours.
Your parents can't afford it, you can't afford it, you're going to have to take out more student loans.
As Calvin Coolidge, I don't want to paraphrase said that one of the biggest dignities, or one of the most noble things that a person can do that they can live within their means.
It's a means of independence.
Book of Deuteronomy, Book of Proverbs, some of those places, they talk about the person who's in debt is the slave to the lender.
So you take all these massive debts, it's kind of like Monopoly.
How many of you have played Monopoly before?
What happens when you land over on Boardwalk and Park Place and they got four houses or hotels over there?
You have this sinking feeling in your gut when they say, pay me.
I want to be your advocate to make sure that you don't have that sinking gut feeling when they say pay me.
because it's something reasonable and it's within your means.
That's why you're attending this school, otherwise you can go write them a bill to go to TCU or go to UT or go to one of the vocations.
This is a community college, it was designed, it was meant to be affordable.
My name's Brad I would now ask for your vote May 7th.
Danny Lam: All right.
Thank you, candidates.
Now these forums are designed so that students, faculty, and staff, and community members to get to know all of you guys that are running for these open seats as the DCC Board of Trustees.
Now each candidate will be allowed two minutes.
Opening and closing statements.
Each candidate will also be given one minute to reply to questions that I ask.
Candidates will take turns with supporters for each subsequent question.
Now we'll be going from left to right and then from right to left to give everyone fair ground.
And I'll be strict on your minutes.
So please take advantage of every second that we have.
Now some questions have been prepared in advance, we will also allow audience members to forward questions to the moderator and now similar members will pass out and collect index cards from all its members.
Screeners will screen their questions to ensure that questions are fair to all candidates before passing them to myself the moderator.
Now with this format set being established, we will now begin with opening statements.
And the first opening statement will be from the candidates sitted closest to me.
What is the role of the Board of Trustees?
How does that role relate to your individual input as a trustee?
Brad Underwood: The role of the Board of Trustees, in my opinion, is much like the senate is to the federal government, is to advise.
The vision comes from the chancellor.
The vision comes from the chancellor and his subordinates.
The trustees are to look and examine the budgets, they examine the expenditures, to examine the audit items.
There's recently been an issue with an audit.
To look at those items and to advise and consent.
At the end of the day you can vote yes or no.
Martha Talbot: I feel that The roll of the Board of Trustees is to set policy, to determine the vision, the mission, the objectives and the goals for the Dallas Community Colleges.
To approve fiscal matters, to hire the chancellor.
And to be well informed on all issues.
Monica Bravo: I'll agree with the other candidates and I feel that the board's responsibility is to govern right?
To oversee governance of the all seven community colleges in the district, decide what the policies will be, what the budget will be, when Should be a property tax increase.
But also to convey the message of what the students and the faculty in the community are facing.
So we don't do this in a vacuum.
We do this with input from the community.
I think that's the role of the board of trustees.
Dorothy Zimmerman: Yes. Well, the role of the board of trustees as I see it, is to make sure that spending is held to a minimum at the point that we are being trusted trustee we are being trusted by the people who elect us as a representative on the board.
It should be a representative government.
If we have representation on theboard.
That means that when, when you elect me, you get a voice on the board.
You can say, yes, that's a good idea.
No, that's not a good idea and I will listen.
I will understand where you're coming from.
Because mostly, the way I view the representative idea is that there is no reason for you to vote for somebody if they are just going to go and say yes to everything that goes on that is put in front of them.
We are supposed to be trusted to make adequate decisions.
And at that point we need to be aware of what's going on and the money that we have or have not been able to control.
Frank Millsap: I like to [INAUDIBLE] forward is to be responsible to the tax payers for first making sure that their daughters are well and opportunities to our student educational success I think one of our responsibilities would be to not only manage fiscal responsibility, but also physical responsibility.
Make sure that we buy things that we need and we can maintain and keep and we need money management and make sure, that we also need to have more oversight.
I think, it's just like a US Congressman, yes a Congressman gets to suggest laws, the President gets to pass them or not.
But we tell them so to speak but also they have an oversight committee that they really don't use very much.
But I think, maybe we should start using them to make sure that policies are being administered and used in a way that they were intended when they were developed.
Gene Robinson: Yeah I would really second what Dorothy said and go further.
I think she made a very good point .the trustees really In this district we need to get back to what the word trustee means.
You're a trustee of the people, of the taxpayers, and of the students.
Their role is to, number one, be fiscally responsible.
That's not happening at all, now.
You know, there's one member of the board that I really respect, who's a good guy, and he's trying to do the right thing.
But he's fighting you know, the rest of the board that simply wants to rubber stamp these crazy expenditures, these unnecessary purchases that are not benefitting anybody.
You know, these crazy political agendas that come down from the federal government In a state would just hamper people's ability to deliver, instructor's ability to deliver quality education.
You know, they need to be responsible and they need to have oversight about what's going on in these campuses.
There is no oversight whatsoever now.
And that's where we see a lot of this local, on campus spending that's just sucking money out of your, classrooms.
That money should be going into quality education.
The board should focus primarily on standards of education, on delivering quality education at an affordable price.
Everything else is secondary.
So, that's my opinion about what the board of trustees should be doing.
Frank Ritter: I believe the role of the board is to set overall policy and direction for the district, and the role of management is to execute it.
The primary means by which the board discharges its responsibility is thru the budget and audit process through the hiring of the Chancellor.
I believe we ought to have strong metrics for performance both financial and academic performance to the district that the board looks at and is visible to the public and to the community so we know how the district is doing.
Two other things I wanted to add regarding board member's duties.
I think board members have a do it do each other and to listen to each other and to act and behave as a collaborative entity and I intend to bring a very inclusive style to my role as trustee.
I had the opportunity to serve on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit board for 7 years when they light rail system opened and I also worked at the DFW Airport for 5 years so I've seen the power and the benefit to an institution of a collaborative board structure.
And then finally I think board members need to be advocates in the community.
It's part of our job to go out and tell the story about what the community college district does and to harness resources in the community around our mission.
J.C. Osborne: I think that the role of the board of trustees is to provide checks and balances.
And at Dallas Community College District, we have administrative overload.
We have a chancellor, multiple vice chancellors, the president, multiple vice presidents.
And they sit in their administrative offices, most of them are highly inaccessible.
They aren't really making very much face time with the students.
And so we need the trustees to get out there and talk to the students and see what their concerns are.
A lot of these administrators don't know that there's a long wait when you go to the admissions office or you're trying to see a counselor.
They don't care, they're sitting on the top floor in their administrative offices, and they don't know what's going on.
So the trustees need to be advocates for the students.
And some taxpayers because we do need to keep tuition rates lower.
[CROSSTALK]. But basically not to rubber stamp everything that has stood before that.
Richard Morgan: The trustees have three primary stakeholders.
The first is the voters obviously because the voters are the ones who put us in that role, and the voters are often the taxpayers as well that we represent.
The second is the students because we exist as an entity to further your success as students.
And the third would be the faculty, staff, and administration because you're the ones doing the work to make sure our students succeed.
So we have three primary stakeholders and has a difference between the operations of the district and the oversight of the district.
The Board of Trustees was responsible for oversight, that means direction, making sure that the expenses that we approve in line with that direction and support those goals.
The actual operation is done by the chancellor, by the presidents, by the administration and the staff on.
So that's what I would say.
And I want to also mention if you have to leave for a class or anything I'm on Twitter.
If you tweet #DCCCDdebate I will respond, I'll answer any questions you might have, I'd love to answer your questions if you don't have time here today.
Danny Lam: Thank you.
Next question will begin with Richard Morgan.
And what students have prepared you to be a successful trustee.
Richard Morgan: Yeah absolutely, so my experience as a former student here I think is invaluable.
But JC also points out here having been through the admission's lines, having that experience of seeing first hand as a student some of the challenges, I think it's hard to to put too high an emphasis on that.
There's nobody on the current board of trustees who has been a student at D-tripple-C-D in probably, ten, twenty years, or more.
I think there's at least a couple of us, here running, who have been students at community colleges, who understand some of that.
As well as my professional experience, I've worked with some of the best, most innovative technology companies in the country.
Some of them cloud computing companies here in Dallas County, cloud virtualization companies.
I'm currently at a startup in the health care industry, where we are automating the supply chain contracting process, and saving hospitals and patients millions of dollars.
I understand technology and that's where many of the jobs are.
We hear about STEM all the time.
I work in STEM.
I don't work in business in the STEM field.
So I understand the industry, where the jobs are.
I understand the experience of the student, and I think that leaves me qualified to be a valuable voice for the board of trustees.
J.C. Osborne: I have been a student at El Centro.
I also have a military background, and as a veteran, I know the value of integrity, courage, and just basically fighting for what's right.
I've also served on a auditing team for healthcare organization, so I know how to audit budgets, I know how to manage teams.
And my legal background will be an invaluable asset also.
Phil Ritter: I think one thing that I hope the voters will look at when comparing candidates is academic credentials.
We are a higher education institution.
And I believe that succeeding in higher education, and striving towards degrees, and having goals and realizing them is important.
And I have an undergraduate degree, and a law degree, and a Master's degree in public affairs that I got while working.
And I took out student loans to get all those degrees, and so I believe that's really important.
Second thing is a business perspective.
I mean, the key mission of the community college is to prepare people for work and I've spent over 25 years in the business community.
I've worked for Texas Instruments, one the largest and greatest technology companies in the world.
And I understand the needs of technology companies, and other companies in this community, for the types of skills that students graduate with.
And then, finally, I think that voters should look at leadership.
I've had the opportunity to be a leader on behalf of the community college district, both through the foundation and chairing the bond campaign.
I had the privilege of chairing the United Way Board of Directors, and also the United Way Campaign about 10 years ago, where we raised over $50 million to address health and human services needs.
I've been involved in higher education organizations and [CROSSTALK] volunteer in public education as an executive coach to a principal at Owen Roberts Elementary School, in East Dallas.
I would encourage you to look at credentials, business experience, and leadership.
Gene Robinson: Okay, well credentials.
Let's see where do I start.
All right, I spent a year as a student at Richland College, that was my very first year of college.
Like many of you all, I then transferred to a four year institution, got a undergraduate degree.
I went on later to get a Master's degree from the University of Texas at Dallas.
Like I said before, I spent many years as a student at Brookhaven College.
I took both classes for my professional career as well as just personal enrichment there, like a lot of people do.
I spent 23 years as an employee at Brookhaven College.
I was both an instructor, and I taught for 14 years.
Seven there, seven at Richland.
I spent ten years as a full time PSS employee at Brookhaven College.
Your president, Jean Conway, hired me for my very first job in Brookhaven.
In fact, she hired me twice, as a matter of fact, in the district.
So, you might say that my experience in the district is basically organic.
I've spent my life here, and I owe a lot to it, and I have a lot of interest, a lot of vested interest in this district.
I want to see it succeed, and I want to see it get back to it's roots providing basic quality education at an affordable price.
Not as a cash cow for the higher-ups.
Frank Millsap: I think my experience is in at least 40-plus years here, working within industry and technology program.
I know budget management.
I came from here, came from south Texas.
I left Oklahoma State as a superintendent [INAUDIBLE] departments, which was equivalent to a city of 32,000 people.
I had a parks department, street department, sanitation department, and the local UPS, and I managed a budget bigger than the entire fiscal class budget was at Richland College when I came here.
So budget management I think I understand quite well, and having been in a district, and, like I say, evolved through the district I have the inside information to begin to recognize the potential values and pitfalls of policies that the boards are trying to and consider.
I think that is a really valuable information opportunity that most people don't have because at a certain level you make these decisions and in theory they should work this way.
But if you're here, [INAUDIBLE] is coming down.
How do I climb that ladder to get back to where we need to be and make it work.
I think that's the key right there.
I think I have all the experience that we could need in that area.
Dorothy Zimmerman: In speaking of credentials, I have to say that I have a four-year degree.
I attended Eastfield.
My daughter teased that she would graduate from high school before I graduated college.
And she came pretty close, but well we both finished.
As far as credentials, I am a citizen who has seen my taxes go up.
I have attended the board meetings that allowed those taxes to go up.
I have made comments at every meeting.
If you go to the Dallas County Community College District Board of Trustees website, you will be able to see my comments.
It's in the videos.
And I speak at all the meetings because rarely, if ever, do I find anything on their spending program for the day that would deterious.
If it was not-
Danny Lam: Thank you Mrs. Zimmerman.
I'm sorry about your having [INAUDIBLE] just to make it better for everyone.
Dorothy Zimmerman: Well, there's no timekeeper.
Danny Lam: I'm actually keeping time.
Monica Bravo: Okay, I believe I am experienced in this position because I have a bachelor's degree from SMU University.
I have a law degree from Texas Tech University.
I'm a board-certified attorney, which means that I'm an expert at my field.
Less than 5% of all attorneys in the State of Texas are board-certified, so it's definitely something that not any attorney can claim.
Also I'm a business owner.
I just celebrated five years of having my own law firm.
I employ nine people, which means I have to worry about salaries, overhead for nine other people, and, thankfully, I've been very successful with that.
And I also have board governance experience because of my past experience on both the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association, the Dallas Bar Association.
I have civic experience.
I have just recently came off the City of Dallas Judicial Nominating Commission, which selects the municipal judges for the city of Dallas.
And so I believe all of those experiences together, along with my experience, personally.
Danny Lam: Ms. Bravo, thank you.
Monica Bravo: Oh, thank you.
Martha Talbot: If I am elected to the board, I will be the only educator on the board.
I think it's important to have an educator on the board, and I have a passion for education after 40 years in the field, and I am a proven leader and trainer to others that aspire into the field of education.
I know from my time as a high school principal, I know the connection between the high school and the community college.
I also know the connection between the community college and the four year level and other vocational trades.
So I feel like it's important to have an educator on the board and one that has a passion for education.
Brad Underwood: Some thoughts I had written down last night about 2 o'clock in the morning.
I'm going to answer this differently than everybody else.
This election is not about me or anyone on this stage.
It's not about our accomplishments.
This election is about you, your dreams, your hopes, your aspirations.
It's about your families and your children.
What we've accomplished is nice, but more importantly we need to be focused on what you want to accomplish, and that's going to be my focus as your next trustee for.
We've got to focus on your dreams.
We need to find out what the potential students in this district want.
What do they need to be successful?
How we level the playing field, so that you can have a good salary?
So that you can earn a good wage, get married, have a family, and achieve the things that you want to achieve.
None of this stuff up here is about you.
I'm telling you right now I am all about you, I have kids, I'm raising them.
I've got a daughter at TWU, I've got a son who's looking where he wants to go for engineering.
It's about you.
Danny Lam: Thank you, Mr. Underwood.
So our next question begins with Mr. Brad Underwood.
If you are elected, how will you advocate for DCCU students and employees and colleges in your dealings with business, the community, and other public servants and voters.
Brad Underwood: My phone number and my email address will be available 24/7.
Doesn't mean I'm going to answer it 24/7, but it will be available to you and not simply during campaigns.
As an advocate, an advocate stands up and says this is what's right.
I spent my college education studying practical theology and ethics.
And I set a foundation for my life determining what things are right.
What is right?
What is just?
And I've spent my life evaluating those things and making decisions based on that.
It is not right that the college tuition keeps going up.
There are several elected officials talking about it, it's not right that your parent's taxes keep going up every year.
We need to live within our means, and we need to protect your interest.
And that is what I'm going to be doing.
So if you have an interest, that's maybe it's about your a disabled student, they're trying to struggle, and they're trying to get the kind of education that fits your needs.
As a trustee, I want to be there, I want to be able to listen to you.
I'll plug you into the right employee or the right staff member here that could get you what you need.
Martha Talbot: My 40 plus years in education have been right here in this community.
I know the businesses, the corporations, the people who live here.
When I became an advocate for Eastfield College and other community colleges, when I made the decision to run for this position, because immediately people started asking me questions.
And I also began learning even more than I already knew.
And I think it's important that we build community within this area, and I think
it's important that we build relationships with businesses and corporations.
And have a place for our students who are attending here to go into the job market at a later time.
So that is how we advocate for the Dallas Community Colleges, thank you.
Monica Bravo: If elected, I would advocate for having trustee forums at all of the seven community colleges, where students and faculty, administrators could all be invited to speak on questions and topics important to them.
In my conversations with students up to this point, many of them don't even know what the board of trustee does.
And we can't have that.
They need to have interaction in what's directly affecting them.
With the business community, I believe there is already some partnerships with some corporations, but with DFW growing the way it is, there's possibilities from more partnerships with the business community.
Which, in turn, could help us get private funding for other community college districts as well as with lobbying efforts at the state legislature to get more funding, so to keep our tuition accessible for all of our students.
Those are just a few of the things I would do if I was on the board.
Dorothy Zimmermann: An advocate or representative is someone who is going to be able to help, Make everything accessible, do as best as possible for the students.
I remember signing up for my very first registration day, and it was frightening.
And at the point that then, I knew I had the money, because we'd been saving for a while.
I can't imagine what it could be to fight through the lines for registration, to get all the way through it, and then realize that now you've got a debt that you've got to pay.
As your representative, I want to make sure that you are cared for by the system, that you're not used by the system, and that for the best possible outcome, the system works for you.
I would work for as an advocate with the system for you.
Frank Millsap: As a member of the board, I think, again, that it's community involvement and community relationships that we have.
And it's based on past records and performance.
As an example, in our [INAUDIBLE] program right now, we have a community involvement and industry involvement where we have a $100,000 piece of equipment.
We typically bought, if you're faculty or staff, if you buy one, that means you're going to use it for 20 years, and we would be using 20 years from now we'd be using 20 year old technology.
We have an agreement where they actually bring us a $100,000 piece of equipment every year so our students get to use this type.
And these are the types of community involvement that we need in this industry and other industries.
This is why one of the things I would support as well as being community involved, I'm on the tax increment board for the City of Sachse board.
And so I'm involved with the community, and I think community relations to the district is very important.
Gene Robinson: Yeah, how would I advocate for you, the students?
Well, being an advocate means doing the right thing.
You do the right thing, you spend money, you spend your money, and your parent's money, and people that are paying property taxes, you spend it as if it's your own.
You don't lay out $200,000 for flat-screen TVs that nobody watches.
You don't lay out another $1 million to rewire electronic locks that are already working.
I mean, who is that benefiting?
You know, does that put any kind of education in your curriculums?
Does it put any kind of an education in your resume?
I mean really, who's spending the money and what's it being spent on?
That's your money, and it's your taxpayer money.
It's your student tuition.
Is it going into your pocket or into somebody else's?
Being an advocate starts with physical responsibility, that's my opinion.
Frank Millsap: I would focus my advocacy onto part of the district in three areas, with the business community, in public policy, and philanthropy.
I've lived in the district for 28 years, been involved in numerous business organizations, large and small.
Including minority and women owned businesses and chambers of commerce where I mean small businesses are a key economic driver of this community.
A place where our students need to be placed.
So I know those folks, I know what they need from the district and I will advocate for the business community.
Second area is in public policy.
At Texas Instruments and in my roles with DFW airport now with [INAUDIBLE] policy institute.
I'm responsible for advancing policy agendas with local, state and federal governments.
And I've worked in numerous trade associations collectively to accomplish things at all level of government.
The biggest risk we have to higher tuition and higher taxes here is the state pressing unfunded mandates and not providing the resources that we need to run the operation.
Times those districts all focus on policy.
And then finally philanthropy.
There is a tremendous value proposition from this district to invest in [CROSSTALK] and I intend to advance that as well.
J.C. Osborne: Currently the state evaluates community colleges based on graduation rates which I don't think is a proper assessment.
The cliche is often that is often said is either go to college or you're going to end up flipping burgers.
Well, the reality is that you can go to college and still end up flipping burgers.
But, on top of that you're going to have a massive amount of debt.
So, what I would like to do is focus survey the job market, the businesses to see what type of skills they're looking for and then go back to the board, and tailor the academic program based off that, so that students will be prepared for the workforce and have the skills that they need to actually get into the workforce, and make a decent salary.
As opposed to just graduating with a would think the degree that's not going to help them get a job.
Maybe that's good for the state and maybe that's good for making the community college look good, but I'm more concerned about the students and helping them to actually get jobs and have good lives.
Richard Morgan: Yeah, I absolutely agree with that.
It's a key piece as to why I'm running.
So for the last five months now.
I've been meeting with students.
As well as voters.
All across District 2 in Northwestern Dallas County.
Where I'm running.
I'm doing that because I want to hear input.
I want to hear feedback.
What's working well?
What can we improve?
I'll tell you, one of the biggest things I've heard from students.
All across the District, it's tuition investment costs are too high.
Do you know that tuition's gone up 50% in 6 years?
We gotta stop that rate of growth.
From what I gather, we're trying to keep increasing the tuition every two years or so.
We can't keep doing that to our students.
And again, textbooks cost more than tuition these days at DCCCD.
Again, it's important you have trustees who make the time to meet with the students and meet with the boards to understand where those opportunities are.
My phone number, I'll give it to anybody who'd like it.
You can reach me on email or Twitter or social media.
I'd be happy to talk to you further.
There's some additional things that we can do, and I don't know if we have time to go into them, but one way we can actually bring the cost of textbooks down is to embrace open education resources better.
We're doing some of that with from the LeCroy Center.
Basically we've got to scale that up.
The largest community college in the country is Maricopa County. [CROSSTALK]
And what they save is a million dollars in four years by doing this.
And we can do the same.
Danny Lam: Beginning in 2017, will allow carrying of concealed handguns in the classes on college campuses.
Richard Morgan: And that's a great question, so the next board of trustees. 2017.
It's going to have to and have the policy where CHL holders can carry.
I guess that's now LTC holders, license to carry.
And the state law has already said that it must be allowed on campus overall.
But the board has jurisdiction to limit which specific buildings.
So I think I'd like to see us do with our campus police, is have a program where we encourage people if you do plan to carry since state law now allows it.
Please meet with our campus police so we can have a program where they can maybe give you some pointers that you might not have thought of in terms of if you do carry on campus be aware of those things.
If anything ever happens, at least they'll be familiar with who you are.
And hopefully that won't make things worse.
So the law's in place.
It's not going to change.
But if you think we need to work with our campus police as well as those who plan to carry to make sure that's a smooth implementation.
J.C. Osborne: I actually wasn't prepared to answer this question today because I didn't think we'd get any controversial questions like this.
But my honest answer is that I am an advocate for the Second Amendment.
So, I know some people don't like guns and I'm sorry.
But my honest answer is I do support the right of citizens to be able to carry concealed handguns everywhere they want to go, because you cannot always rely on the police.
You can't rely on some security officer.
If you're going to be victimized by somebody, you have a natural right to defend yourself.
So I am completely in support of the right to carry concealed hand guns, everywhere, not just on campus.
On or off campus, that's my opinion, that's my position on that issue.
Phil Ritter: Well the legislature has spoken on this issue, and we're going to follow state law.
Four years institutions are required to implement this policy in 2016.
The community college districts have an extra year.
Plans are already underway, it doesn't change the fundamental calculus on campus that our law enforcement is responsible for safety.
And how this policy gets implemented and how it gets done, I'm going to be relying heavily on the advice of law enforcement professionals, attorneys who can clearly articulate the parameters of this law for us and also other stakeholders are going to have to live under this policy.
It's important to note that the community college district is a mixed use environment.
A lot of businesses, some of our campuses have high schools.
Some of them have daycare centers.
And all of those types of issues will impact how this policy's impacted here at the Dallas County Community College District.
Gene Robinson: Well, I think I'm not going to shock anybody in this audience when I tell you that we live nowadays in a crazy society.
Workplace violence is common, school shootings have become almost a bi-weekly occurrence.
We're all now worried about terrorism, it's coming here to our home shores.
These people, a lot of them are jacked up on drugs, they want to have their minds altered by antidepressants, antipsychotics.
Drug use in our society is very common, prescription and illegal
And I want to say something too about the concealed handgun holders in this state because this is a program that's gone on for 20 years now.
These people are heavily vetted, their backgrounds are checked.
In 20 years of time we have had no problem with violence from people carrying concealed handguns.
These are responsible citizens who want to protect themselves and others, you know.
These crazy killers [CROSSTALK] pick soft targets.
If you're not protected, they're going to pick you.
And it's good protection.
I'm for it.
Frank Millsap: Well I think it.
It would be my responsibility to get up to speed on this question.
I am not opposed to guns on campus, if it's legal.
In fact, it should be [SOUND] and I think that this will be left up to input from the board and a lot of other people, but mainly law enforcement people with some guidelines that would make it in an area that it would not deter people from coming to campus but also not encourage the wrong people to come into campus.
Dorothy Zimmermann: I believe that guns are a defense mechanism, and when seconds count minutes don't matter.
I do believe that people with concealed handgun licenses, are responsible citizens.
That's why they are doing it legally.
It's the people who do illegal carry that we have the most concern about.
Concealed handguns license holders really don't seem to be a big problem.
Not only that, so many people are confused to be a concealed hand gun license holder you cannot be 16-years-old.
So many times I hear that children will be carrying guns to school and that is not legal.
That is not within the pervue of the concealed hand gun license.
So, at the point that we understand that people, who are there to help us, if we need them.
The police are not always as close as someone, who may have carried that morning because of their concealed hand gun license.
I do believe that the more we have guns on campus-
Danny Lam: Thank you Ms. Zimmerman.
Dorothy Zimmerman: The less we have a problem with the fish bowl effect.
Monica Bravo: I believe that this is direct, this is exactly the type of issue that [COUGH] should be taken to the community as a whole in these trustee forums.
And that this is a decision that the board cannot make on its own.
Based on our own personal beliefs.
I think we need to hear from everybody who will be affected by it.
We have to also remember that there are early college high schools at some of our campuses and so there are teenagers or child care programs where children are being brought into the community and so we have to listen to all of our stakeholders in deciding what would be the best for the community as a whole.
Martha Talbot: I think opponent is right in that we need input from the whole community and, if elected as a trustee, when it comes time to vote, I'm one of seven people who will be making that decision.
But, personally, I want students to be comfortable and to feel safe on their campus with the security measures that are in place here.
I have a family member who at this time is a Richland student.
And I want him to be safe and not thinking that something could happen at any moment.
Also have a daughter who is a professor at University of North Texas and I wouldn't want here to be subjected to any kind of behaviors that might occur because of this.
I think it's something we need to look at very seriously very carefully.
For any kind of implementation, thank you.
Brad Underwood: There's fire extinguishers all over this building, why?
We can just call 911 and get the fire department here, right?
Why do we have fire extinguishers?
To immediately address the issue.
Because we're adults.
That's why we have fire extinguishers.
The constitution of the United States of America is not subjected to the whims and the attitudes, or the dispositions of a few.
It is the law of the land, and we don't pick and choose, because if we can pick and choose then that means, maybe the Fist Amendment doesn't apply.
Congress should make no law respecting the establishing the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
Or abridging the freedom of speech or the freedom of the press or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
So if we take those away we can take the Second Amendment away.
People that have CHL licenses can literally walk into the State Capital.
All they have to do is show up.
They don't have to go through the metal detectors or anything.
They have been extremely vetted.
Those are safe before they go through.
Danny Lam: We will now be moving on to [INAUDIBLE] Have questions from
the audience, starting with Mr. Underwood.
How would you support policies to protect LGBTQ students at our colleges?
Brad Underwood: The constitution [INAUDIBLE] talks about individual liberties.
Individuals, we all had individual liberties.
Your liberty ends where mine begins, and [INAUDIBLE].
All these people, these different factions they talk about black lives matter or brown lives matter, all lives matter, everybody.
We should treat everyone with respect.
Respect like adults.
We don't have to segment.
We don't have to divide one another.
We should be united.
We're the United States of America.
We shouldn't be trying to break ourselves up into this little corner over here, or that cool corner over there.
Martha Talbot: I feel that if we have training and we have occasions to get together and discuss certain issues and learning to live together peacefully.
And we continue to present that in a forward manner at all times then it will be a safe environment on every campus.
Monica Bravo: I'd be in support of any policies or protections that would make all of our students feel comfortable on campus.
Our students come to these colleges to learn, to get an education, and for nothing more than that.
And so anything that we can do to enhance their ability to learn on campus, I would be in support of.
Dorothy Zimmerman: I'm against any kind of discrimination, any kind of discrimination.
So, maybe that's too broad a brush.
Because it seems like we are breaking ourselves into tiny little factions, and see if we do not discriminate period.
Then we don't have to enumerate what we will not discriminate against.
It's pretty easy.
Well, that's a good question for me.
Frank Millsap: I'm not sure I have the right answer.
But I agree primarily with Brad I think we would probably not support any policy that grants benefits to someone at the expense of someone else.
And that is the way I look at it.
If that person's lifestyle is their business, not my business, as long as it doesn't interfere with me or anyone else on campus.
Gene Robinson: Yeah I want to elaborate on what Dorothy started.
Yeah, I also am against any kind of discrimination.
But I want to quickly add, that I am also very against any kind of special favoritism.
And there's a huge push in the media in this country now, to make groups more equal than the rest of us.
And I'm really against that.
During my tenure at Brookhaven, I had numerous students that were gay.
I know they were gay, some of them wrote me love letters.
That was totally inappropriate but nobody freaked out about it.
Everybody should just be treated the same, no special favoritism.
No, that's a very, very bad policy when one group is suddenly made more equal than others.
That's not the American way, everybody's equal, everybody's treated the same, no special favors.
Phil Ritter: As trustee, I'm going to do everything I can to project a an environment of inclusion.
And a welcoming environment, a safe environment for everybody.
I don't believe we should have any informed discrimination, in terms of business decisions, hiring, contracting in our policies.
And this is an issue where I think, where the students are probably way ahead of the adults and perhaps, the people serving on this board.
Because of the attitudes of the acceptance that the students give to their GLBT counterparts.
And the respect that they give to their GLBT counterparts, I think we just trustees can learn and model from that.
J.C. Osborne: Well, first of all, I should say I'm actually a member of the LGBT community.
When I was in law school, I was the President of LGBT Sigma organization and my position is that while private organizations can discriminate against whoever they want, the government can't.
The government is subject to the equal protection laws.
So as state actors, I believe the LGBT discrimination is basically gender discrimination.
Because essentially the premise is that because you're a man you're not allowed to marry who you want.
Or, because you're a woman, you have to behave in a certain way, so that is something to hide behind by all the scrutiny.
In my opinion, against any type of LGBT discrimination by government officials.
Richard Morgan: I think this one's really simple a community college environment should be a place where any student of any background, of any religious affiliation, of any sexual orientation, of any belief system, can attend and get a quality education.
And, I'm against discrimination.
Danny Lam: Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Just to make it clear, the term we use now is LGBTQIA, just throwing it out there.
Moving on to our next question, with Richard Morgan.
Do you intend or wish to support literary and noble arts for construction.
Richard Morgan: I would not eliminate it.
I do agree that there is a lot more job demand in the stem programs.
I think the system touches on the point of transparency a little bit.
Any student who is considering attending one of our community colleges districts or campuses.
Should be able to see how many of their classmates graduate in this program.
How much do they earn when they do graduate?
I think if students are empowered to see these number for themselves.
See which careers have high-paying jobs, see where the demand is in the economy.
I think students here, are smart enough to make their decisions about what they want to study.
But I think it's important that people don't invest two years of their lives, skipping out on time with their friends.
The financial cost of tuition and textbooks and everything else, only to find out that when they graduate, that there aren't any jobs.
Or the jobs that exist don't pay what they expected.
You can make a good amount of money these days, 15 dollars or more at any number of low skill jobs that don't require a 2 year education.
So we need to make sure that students who do go, know what they're getting into.
And if that's liberal arts, that's wonderful but you should know the salaries and the expectations when you get into it.
J.C. Osborne: Okay so I believe in freedom of choice.
So, students should be able to choose what type of academic program that they want.
With that said, I do encourage generation students who go to college and their parents don't know.
How to give you advice on which program to take, that is the role of the school.
And so unfortunately, the job market isn't leaning towards liberal arts degrees.
And so, while I would not cut eliminate them altogether, I would definitely de-emphasize them.
They would be smaller they would be reduced in size.
I would probably cut a few of them that aren't producing productive members of the work force.
And I I've been trying to fit more resources into the STEM program but at the same time, I would like to get feedback.
From the students, to see what they want and if the students are pushing for more of the block programs.
Then I would have to go with the will of the students.
Phil Ritter: I would not eliminate liberal arts.
I think that having the opportunity to study the arts, humanities, languages, history, the rational behind mathematics.
I didn't like algebra but I learned something from it.
Is all really really important, and yeah we're about training people for the workforce but we're also about training life long learners.
And exposing students to a broad range of ideas in our community and in our world and that's what the Liberal Arts do.
And we're also about training citizens for long term citizenship and participation in our society, that's what the Liberal Arts do.
So I would not only, not eliminate them but I would encourage students to take advantage of liberal arts offerings here in the Dallas County Community College.
Gene Robinson: No, I'm not in favor of cutting liberal arts programs, I think the world needs poets.
And it needs artists, even if you're here studying auto mechanics or plumbing, there's some auto mechanics like art.
A lot of people like art, art is beautiful, liberal arts programs are very important.
Mankind needs this kind of beauty and poetry in our society, helps us stay civilized and normal.
I want to also point out very quickly though, that this current board, as it has seen fit to operate for the past several years,.
Is definitely cutting liberal arts programs, a large part of our foreign language program was eliminated.
There was no oversight whatsoever on the board when that was brought to their attention, those programs are being cut.
Well you know, people need foreign languages to understand world cultures and other societies too.
So you know, if you let this current, operating as it is now attitude, to go on and don't make a major change to this board structure.
You are going to see your programs cut, because their interest in keeping their special funding going, their special projects going.
Their political restructuring programs going, their social programs going.
That needs to have an end brought to it.
Frank Millsap: I'm not in favor of cutting them.
I do think they should be demand driven in size.
As a, I have a degree in Landscape Architecture.
I have several liberal art classes.
I also have a minor in Engineering, so I realize the value of both and the issue would be basically demand driven.
I am not in favor of what was done back in the late 70s, in addition, when we started humanities and technology which means that every technology program had to have technology in a humanities oriented course.
And that was done primarily to save the enrollment for the jobs of faculty.
We don't have technology in liberal arts.
And I don't think that should be required either.
If the programs need to be on the stand alone based on their demand as to the size we have on each campus.
Dorothy Zimmermann: I can't imagine cutting out liberal arts, but I can't imagine cutting out much of anything.
The idea that I as a trustee would know what needed to come and what needed to go I think is a little bit, a little heavy handed.
It's up to the students to know what they are looking for.
Now, again, if they know that, I think that basket weaving is what's always brought up.
That most likely it's not going to be a high paying job.
But there's lots of folks that have made lot's of money in basket weaving, so it's not up to me to decide what would come and what would go.
As a representative, it would be up to me to make sure that your voices were heard as to what you wanted to study, what you felt as though was is important to you.
Monica Bravo: I would not be in support of cutting out a Liberal arts education.
I myself as a Liberal Arts major before I went on to law school.
And I think it definitely brought into perspective and makes you a well rounded person, and can make you a valuable citizen, so I do think that there is thoughtfulness and much you can get from a liberal arts major degree.
However at the same time, you know, that's not meant for everybody, so I think so long as we have choices and our students have accessibility, and choices to different things like a trade program, like auto mechanics, or, you know, other things that are more targeted to getting a job like STEM fields then I think we should be able to maintain it all.
Martha Talbot: I am not for ending the the liberal arts program at the community college level.
You might remember that I, as part of my education background, I am certified in art at all levels of education and practice it whenever I have the opportunity.
I do that think that a liberal arts degree broadens your horizons and increases your thinking skills.
I do think that as you move toward a four year college the focus needs to come more toward maybe one single area so that you have a good ability to earn an income, and so, that’s my position.
Keep the liberal arts.
Brad Underwood: How many have seen the Hunger Games, the movie?
Few of you.
Yeah, the Hunger Games, Maze Runner, there's some other movies like that.
The Giver, have you seen that with Jeff Bridges.
With a government, big government that's telling everybody what to do.
They tell them practically what they're going to eat, where they're going to live, the brand of toilet paper they're going to use, that's big government.
This is an education institute, this is not about telling you about what your choices should be.
You should be, you're adults, you should be working with family members, with mentors, determining where you want to go with your education.
I believe in the free market, if the free market says that these students want this, that's their decision, it's their pocket book, they get to decide.
And that's what they get to do, if the free market comes in and says hey, we want to focus on the next programming language.
Or we want to study agile, and we got a bunch of students that want to study agile programming.
Or they want to get into whatever the next big thin client servers, or whatever it is, whatever field you want to go into, whatever market demands, I believe that's what this community college needs to provide.
We don't need big government telling us what to do, how to run it.
Again, my background's in practical theology and ethics, my wife's degree was in political science and history.
So, we're very much a political arts family.
I excelled at those things in high school, so.
Danny Lam: Beginning with Mr Underwood., how would you expand technical programs such as automotive and metal fabrication.
Brad Underwood: Well, you need to find [INAUDIBLE], expand it, you need to find a partner, someone who needs that resource, someone like Toyota who recently moved here, and the district has partnered with them, I believe with the Pleasant Grove locations to train folks to go over there.
So you got to find partners.
There needs to be a demand.
We don't need to just create things.
There needs to be a demand for it.
There's tons of jobs in the community.
Again, I mentioned agile.
That's a big part.
My field is right now I work for a for the single largest, most distributed, multi-national bank in the world.
They're all over the world.
We have to do a lot of things in a lot of different countries.
I deal with people in Guatemala, I deal with people in the Philippines, India, Budapest, and this institution needs to focus on where the demand is.
If you're adding new features when you have partner stones saying this is what we need.
And you study the market, read the Dallas business journal, companies are coming this way and then approaching their leadership and seeing if there's something we can offer to meet that .
Martha Talbot: Technology is our future.
Any [INAUDIBLE] of it is our future.
And not only do we need to be up to date, we need to be looking ahead to see what is coming in the future so that we can train our students to be the very best.
I've already said this, but we need to offer them opportunities in the corporate world of internships so that they find their place and a position in the world to earn money.
Maria Bravo: The question was regarding expanding auto mechanics?
Danny Lam: Expanding technical programs
Maria Bravo: Right, expanding technical programs.
I think this is a great area for partnerships with private businesses to be very fruitful in being able to not only get students hands on training from people who are in these professions, but also guaranteeing them jobs once they finish these certificates and trade programs.
So, I think greater partnership with private companies in the DFW area, there are companies moving into the community every day.
And sometimes they're having to look for workers outside the area
because there's not enough trained, skilled workers here in the community.
And so, I think that it's a great area where partial to private, companies would greatly help us.
Dorothy Zimmermann: As far as pushing for non-academic, I think that yes, working in the community, we can very well ...
How should I put it?
Plumbers and welders are not bad people, they make some very very nice money and it seems as if academics has gone a little bit overboard.
Because not everybody's designed to go to college, as far as getting a 4 year degree.
Lots of times if you can weld you can get what?
Well for a little while in North Dakota they were paying approximately $120,000 a year for a welder.
Real nice money if you can get it, it's a great job.
Now our energy system at this point has kind of stumbled a little bit in those jobs.
Now, they are not so easy to find.
But, the idea of teaching a skill instead of, well, book learning.
If you can teach a skill, car mechanics is always good.
As far as advancing that education, I think if we started with the idea that it was a good way to make a living.
If we take the stigma of dirty hands away from those jobs.
All of the sudden I think that yeah, the money that they can make would be much better.
Then trying to pigeonhole someone into a four year education when 18 months of welding would do them a very good job.
Frank Millsap: Having spent my 40 years on campus, in the technology field, I think that's an area that needs to be grown.
I think we're all beginning to realize as the IT technology has come and gone, and we began to realize, if you can ship it in an airway or you can store it on a disk, you can outsource it.
You can't outsource a lot of the technology programs.
I do not believe in skewing some of the data to make some programs look better than IT so we can have funds funded in those particular areas abased on personal projects or personal attitude.
As a good example, I think horticulture is an area, we closed the program that I left.
And right now according to Texas A&M horticulture services in Dallas county is $2.1 billion dollar a year business.
It provides $35,000 jobs if 35,000 jobs, and we don't have programs in the county anymore to do that.
Colin County is about $1.1 billion in industry.
Those are areas that we need to look at.
Automotive is another area, as we're getting more and more people as technology people are beginning to get older.
They're retiring and we're going to have to bring in younger people to do the jobs that the old plumbers and the electricians and the mechanics are doing now.
And they're going to want more money.
They're not coming in at the [CROSSTALK].
Danny Lam: Time is up.
Frank Millsap: This is things that we need to keep in mind as we grow the program.
Gene Robinson: Yeah.
I'm all for increasing technical programs.
I agree with Brad Underwood.
As long as there's a demand and you identify that that's fine.
Technical programs are a big part of what we do.
Our two main jobs here are technical certifications and basic education.
I don't want to forgo basic education in the pursuit of a technical program though.
Everybody needs to be basically educated.
Basic education benefits all of us as a society.
But I wannna get back again to the point that all of this, whether we go into nanotechnology.
Or clear pane solar technology, which has come on now, or any kind of technological input in the future.
This needs to come from wise decisions at the top, from people at the top that are smart, are logical, interested in doing the right thing.
And not interested in doing the wrong thing, or just simply continuing status quo.
It's gotta come from intelligent leadership at the top.
You all are responsible for electing that.
So, if you want the place to go in a good direction, you got to start at the top with people you picked to run the show.
Phil Ritter: Well, I believe the technical and contract training is actually a core competency and a center of excellence, if you will, of the Dallas County Community College district.
Many of you may remember ten years ago when there were dozens of cranes above the Central and LBJ intersection as TI undertook a three or four billion dollar expansion of our manufacturing facilities.
We didn't have a place to train the semiconductor manufacture technicians that we needed.
$50-60,000 a year jobs to start where we turned to the community college district, and the SMT program was put in place we're hiring every one of their graduates.
More importantly though, I believe that the community college needs to be one of the key weapons in the arsenal of economic development for this region.
And that we need to embed ourselves even deeper with chambers of commerce, with economic development agencies, with the commercial real estate industry, and understand who's coming here and how the district can meet their workforce needs.
Because I believe we do that frankly, better than anyone else in the country, and we need to keep it up, because it's part of the reason we're growing so fast here in Dallas-Fort Worth.
J.C. Osborne: Well I believe in free market principles but the operative word is the word market.
And so basically my undergraduate degree is in political science and the ugly truth that nobody wants to discuss is that there aren't a lot of
employers looking for people with political science degrees.
There are very few people who have political science degrees who are working in their field.
And so, based on market principles, it's supply and demand.
And so you want to supply employers with the type of skills that they're looking for.
If they're looking for people with technical training, then those are the types of programs at the community college should offer.
Sorry, I'm drawing a blank here.
But basically, I don't want to set students up for failure.
I don't want them to get a degree because they were interested in a particular area and then they graduate, and they can't get a job.
So, if there's a demand for technical training, or a technical job, those are the types of programs I would support.
Richard Morgan: I think the question particularly was directed around autobody repair, and even welding.
What I just learned this morning is that, our lab's full here at Eastfield.
We have so many students who want to study this and so much demand here in our local economy, that we don't have enough room in our lab.
So I think in general, anytime you have an opportunity like this really, where the economy wants more skilled workers in the field.
And the students want to go study that and get those jobs, we need to make sure that we're not creating a bottleneck just because we haven't allocated resources properly to be able to allow students to study that.
In addition, obviously Toyota just moved here recently or is in the process and a part of that was that we had such a good automotive program here at Eastfield and Brookhaven.
We worked with not just Toyota, but several other automobile manufacturers as well.
So I'll just say in general I think we're seeing a shift in education where education is going to work more closely hand in hand with the employers.
To make sure that the skills we're teaching align well with the skills that the employer need.
And as long as we do that we continue to insure that our students do graduate and get good jobs.
Thank you. Our next question beginning with Mr. Richard Morgan.
DCCCD tuition is amongst the lowest [INAUDIBLE].
Richard Morgan: Yeah, so we are one of the lowest in Texas.
We're in the I want to say 10% of the bottom.
We're not the lowest in North Texas however, I believe Collin County is actually lower than us, and what we see is tuition has been going up steadily.
So in 2005 I was a student here at Eastfield, tuition was $39 per credit hour, so about $460 per semester.
Today, tuition is $59 per credit hour, which is about $712 a semester.
Add 1,000 bucks of books on top of that, you're looking at about 700 bucks a semester for a full-time 12 hour course load for students here.
I don't think that continuing to increase the tuition rates is going to solve the problem.
I've already heard from students who are feeling the pain.
And a lot of students, and it's easy for some of us who have been out in the workforce for a while to think 700 bucks a semester that's not a big deal.
But when you're a student, and I remember this because I was a student.
Student and this was a struggle for me.
You often have to make decisions.
Do I go out to eat?
Or do I buy textbooks?
Do how do I allocate limited funds?
And sometimes it's worse, do I put food on the table for my kids.
And so I think we need to recognize that tuition is a problem for some of our students.
I don't think that increasing tuition 15% every two years is the right on the board.
I think there's other ways we can find funding if we need it.
I think the even bigger opportunity.
Just make sure the funding we already have is alleged properly.
Again, we've increased the tuition by $22 million per year since 2010, so I don't think we need to raise anymore.
J.C. Osborne: No. I don't think that the lowering tuition would necessarily increase the quality of education I will support partnering up with private businesses.
Maybe leasing out some of the campus facilities, provide training for private businesses.
And also I would have them open admission policies so that anyone that wanted to attend community colleges would be able to.
And we would be able to fill up a lot of these classes.
And a lot of the budget is actually going towards the administration and overhead, so we often want classes that will reduce the expenses.
Maybe push towards text books that aren't brand new.
Not a 2016 edition.
As opposed to a 2015, so that you can get a used book.
Reducing student expenses is going to be a priority if I'm elected.
Phil Ritter: One way you can think about community college finance is this is the funding part.
Between the state, which provides roughly half the money.
It's going to be local taxpayers that provide roughly half the money.
The state provides 20, 25%, then tuition, which provides, and fees about 20, 25%.
And so if you squeeze one part of the balloon or cut one part of the balloon, it's going to affect the other.
And, as I mentioned earlier, I think the biggest risk to tuition here at the community college district is the state not providing its share to fund our operations.
I mean there is no higher education fairy that's going to wave a wand and make all this stuff magically happen.
Higher education costs money for facilities, for faculty salaries, for ongoing operations, for maintenance I'm going to be very focused on keeping tuition affordable.
But also fundraising for student scholarships through the foundation, advocating for Pell Grants.
It's insane that the federal government cut Pell Grants for summer.
Why are they doing that?
I mean, that denies an educational opportunity that would be funded by the federal government.
And it's a great investment, why are we doing that.
So yeah, we need to keep tuition affordable but we've also got to watch the other pillars of the district's finance and make sure things stay in balance.
Gene Robinson: Danny, can I clarify?
Did you say tuition increasing or decrease?
Danny Lam: Reducing tuition, would that harm the quality of with reducing tuition harmful to education.
Gene Robinson: Okay, well tuition in the district right now is not bad.
It is very low cost education. We could leave it alone.
I would not increase tuition except based on cost of inflation, as inflation goes up only.
No more tuition increase, no more tax.
[INAUDIBLE] That's not what the problem is.
Even for students, tuition is not really the main issue now.
The bloody cost of books is the issue, right?
That's what's breaking students' backs.
Well, you can do a lot by having instructors write their own textbooks, and use their own materials.
We don't need to be held hostage by these publishing companies anymore, that's really highway robbery.
Tuition is not the problem in this district.
The problem is you got five administrators at the top really getting paid over $1.4 million a year, just in their salaries. Okay?
These people do nothing but sit around and make mostly bad decisions that hamper quality education.
Okay, there's a lot of administrative bloat here, both at the district level and on campuses, that need Is to be done away with.
That money needs to be put back into the classroom.
This district has huge resources that are available to increase funding.
The state funding is unreliable.
Half the time now, they give us money.
And then, they take it back.
[LAUGH] Can you imagine trying to live your life like that?
Use the resources you have on campus before you rent out facilities.
Solar, wind, there are lots of ideas we can create revenue.
Frank Millsap: Okie dokie.
As an example if you do your homework a little bit, tax rate.
Kids, as been mentioned before, has gone up 50%, in ten years in Dallas County.
It has gone down 12%, in Colin County, in the same length of time.
Our tuition rate is $59 an hour.
Theirs is $32 an hour.
I live in Sachse.
Right next to Wiley.
Which part of my city is in Colin County?
People that live in Sachse, the impact its having on us.
We can pay Collin County out of county tuition at $64 an hour, and we can't drive from Sachse to East originally for $5 for an entire semester twice a week for 16 weeks.
You can't do it.
So, we're losing people.
What we really need to do is do our homework and find out how other people are cutting costs.
Instead of continuing to raise cost.
I think that's an important thing.
It's not that we're not getting our money's worth, but we need to make sure that if other people can do it, why can't we?
Do our homework.
Dorothy Zimmermann: Yes, as far as decreasing tuition having an impact on education -
For the amount of expenditures that are done, from what I understand, there's going to be food out in the back when we're done.
We spend almost half a million dollars a year on party food.
Somehow, as far as cutting out the party food, and then they can insure that the education stays adequate or well, is benefited by that money.
There's so many expenditures that are made that, they're nice to have.
But when we start looking at the students, who are having to make the lunch decision.
Do I have lunch or not?
And then the party food is put out.
To me, that's just not fair.
At the point that we don't have to spend that money, and it doesn't have to pull away from anyone's education.
Then It's just, it just makes sense for us to spend within our means.
And so yes lowering tuition I would love to be able to do that simply because the more we it costs to go to school the fewer people will be available to go to school.
Because we just don't-
Danny Lam: Thank you, Ms. Zimmermann.
>> Not all of us have a lot of money.
Monica Bravo: I don't think that should be detrimental to the quality of education if we're being fiscally responsible and making sure that we have enough funds from other sources to cover it.
Mainly 55% of the income from the district comes from taxes.
In the past few years, North Texas has been very fortunate in that property values have gone up.
And so, without really having to increase taxes, more revenue has been coming in from those property taxes.
However, at the same time state funding has been going down every legislature.
So it's important also that if you want to attract more students by having a low tuition which I think should be our focus, we should look at.
Private funding and also lobbying the legislature, to step point down to increase it.
Because the state has full benefits when we have more educated individuals who can get higher paying jobs, and can pay more taxes through sales tax and other means into the state.
It's to everybody's benefit that we find ways of having everything come out of students' pockets and finding other sources of money.
Martha Talbot: My understanding is that the tuition of the Downe's County Community College runs 47 out of 50 across the state of Texas.
So we have a little bit of room there to come up some, I believe.
I believe that inflation, which is affecting everything in the way we live, I believe inflation will probably cause the Board of
Trustees to have to look at increasing tuition a little bit also.
But, I also think that we should look at the way monies are spent and see where any more cut backs can be made.
I also think as far as the money situation to the students, I know how much textbooks cost.
But I also know that publishers are going to online text books.
In fact, they prefer that students have online text books.
So, that would be an answer to the problem
about the cost of buying so many textbooks at one time.
Brad Underwood: When is the last time you saw IBM, or Microsoft, Coca-Cola or a Wells Fargo ask a government institution how to run their business.
Crickets, right? Okay.
I come from the business world.
I spent the last over 25 years in information technology.
I worked with some of the largest companies in the world.
I also currently work the last 13 years for a financial company.
We're the largest in the world.
And trust me, we have do process improvement every year.
Management says, hey, we need to find a place to cut costs.
I know government doesn't do that.
But the business world does, protect their interests and protect the interest of the shareholders.
You, the students and the faculty, the people that pay the taxes here, are the shareholders.
And as a trustee for this institution, I will bring the hard knocks business experience I have of cutting costs.
Finding efficiencies, leveraging technology where possible, and adding those things to reduce our costs so that we can keep tuition low.
We can keep from raising taxes.
There's plenty of waste.
There's a $600,000 [INAUDIBLE] lost.
That's about 700 students, one full semester.
That we could use for scholarships for students that needed it.
700 students one full semester, full time.
Danny Lam: So unfortunately, we are running out of time so we'll be moving to closing statements.
Each candidate will have a maximum of two minutes for your closing statement.
Beginning with Mr Underwood.
Brad Underwood: My life has been spent in business, making tough decisions, making the right decisions, making the interested end of shareholders and the business owners.
And that's exactly what I'm going to bring to this institution.
I have tons.
It is not a nonprofit on top of for profit.
And that's exactly what government institutions need.
They need to look at the IBMs.
They need to look at the Hewlett Packards.
They need to look at the Microsofts.
Those are the companies that are leading the world.
Those are the companies that are saving funds.
They're leveraging technology.
Those are the people that have accountability.
If you will, to the shareholders, and I want to be that accountability for you, the Senate, to make sure this institution is being run the best way that I can affect it as a board member.
Voting yes or no and different motion items and on policy.
This, again, is not about me, this is about the future of this community.
This is about the students here, this is about the parents who have children attending, this about the people who pay taxes in this community.
And I promise you I will be efficient and effective with your tax dollars exactly.
I'm not going to vote for a tuition increase.
I'm not going to vote for a tax increase.
And the other things that you see on my card is protection and personal safety.
I want to make sure that anyone that feels threatened by some things that have taken place with the bathrooms in this location.
I want the women to feel safe.
I want the women to feel like they can go to the restroom and not be accosted by someone.
And that's very important because I have a daughter that goes to TWU.
I have a wife that has to attend, she's taking her Masters classes.
And that's there's students that I've talked to that no longer attend this institution, because of the bathroom situation, they don't feel safe.
I want the young ladies, they want to come on campus and they want to have concealed carry, and they want to have classes at nighttime, and they want to.
I believe they should be empowered.
The Constitution enables that and empowers that.
My name is Brad Underwood, I ask for your vote on May 7th, I promise you I'll be your greatest advocate in this institution.
Martha Talbot: My name is Martha Jo Talbot, and I care about education.
It is right here in my heart.
That we provide the best education possible, and have the best staff at our community college level.
And, we have talked about the word advocate here today.
I would like to be your advocate to represent this area and on the Dallas Canyon Community College district and served as your trustee and I appreciate your being here today.
I also appreciate your vote.
And remember, I am an educator and I do believe we need educators on the board.
At least one. Okay.
Monica Lira Bravo: Hello, again. My name is Monica Lira Bravo and I want to remind you all that early voting starts April 25th with the main election being May 7th.
I ask for your support.
I believe I'm qualified as an attorney, business owner, and someone who generally cares about this community.
If you got any of my mailers, my three platform points are, keeping our taxes low, having accessible tuition to all our students.
Which means keeping it low and having many opportunities, like dual credit programs, great program.
And my last item is keeping the community first.
And remembering that this is Dallas County Community College District.
And it's not just the board who should be fighting for these positions, but the community as a whole.
Dorthy Zimmermann: I am Dorthy Zimmermann, and I would love to be your voice on the board, your representative so that your concerns can be brought before the board in a type of manner.
As far as all my accomplishments, it doesn't make a difference if you do not accomplish your education.
So, at this point, I would love to be your representative and after attending all the meetings, April of 2012 until now I know the way it's done.
I know how the board works, and I would love to be your representative on the board.
Because at this point I'm not sure you have a representative on the board.
Dorothy Zimmerman place three, thank you.
Frank Milsap: Frank Milsap. I think the root of discussion today you begin to realize that, I feel like my success in teaching shows that not how do you have the ability on the inside to be successful at this level.
I also run a small business.
How to run employees for 35 years so I know how to run a business.
I think these things are important that you understand what it is continuing success.
I might mention also that tonight, [INAUDIBLE] I will be receiving the so if you feel like I have anything to offer, vote for me for district three.
Gene Robinson: Again, my name is Gene Robinson, and again, I thank you all for having me in today.
I just want to assure you that I am not here to continue the status quo.
There are candidates here in front of me today that want to turn, you know, this board topsy turvy and turn things around.
There's a lot of very positive educational initiative talk that is coming out of the board and is coming out of the administration.
But I'm here today to tell you about what you're not being told, what's going on behind the scenes.
I want you to know that the district gets in to financial trouble almost every year now because of budget.
A lot of you know that for the past couple of years that budget has been balanced on the backs of employee termination that cut student services, that cuts student populations that cut education employees and staff of these colleges.
A lot of you don't know that.
A lot of you don't know that your student tuition is going to fund early college high school programs, you're paying for that even though their college is supposed to be paid for by ISD taxation that you're getting double taxed.
That there's misappropriation of funds going on.
There's illegal spending of money.
And that's your money, right?
That's your money.
It should be in your pocket, and your educational classrooms.
Not in people's classrooms that are supposed to be paid for by other tax entities.
So, you know, there's all this going on behind the scenes that you don't know about.
I'm here to correct that.
I want PSS employees out there to know that I'm one of you, I would like your vote to make sure that this doesn't happen again.
Faculty I've been one of you too, I'm very pro education, I'm very pro faculty, I want this college district to be an institution of education and the financial house needs to be brought back in order that's what I'm here to do.
Phil Ritter: Thank you. Again, I'm Phil Ritter, running in district two and I want to thank Dr. Conway for having us here today and Danny for moderating.
I've had a deeply held personal belief for many many years about the challenge facing our community created economic opportunity, and educational opportunity, especially for those who've been denied those things.
And particularly based on economic class and race.
And I see the Dallas County Community College district as being the great portal for opportunity in our community.
The place where people can come to begin or pursue the American dream.
And that's why I'm so passionate and committed about the district and have been involved in it for many years.
And hope to be involved in it as a trustee.
So I ask you to consider my credentials, my leadership accomplishments, my long time involvement of the district as you head to the voting booth on May 7th that I'd ask for your vote.
J.C. Osborne: First of all, thank you all for coming and for staying.
One of the first things I noticed when I came here was that this is actually one of the nicer campuses within the Dallas County Community College District.
And I would like to see all college campuses look as nice as this one.
The main reason that I'm running is that I don't want to leave students hanging.
I don't want to leave students to get their degrees and graduate without a job.
So I want to make sure that when you graduate, there's going to be a job waiting for you.
And I don't want to set up students for failure.
Also studies show that students who participate in extracurricular activities are much more likely to graduate and so we can increase graduation rates by putting more money into extracurricular activities.
And I overall would like to improve the community, make Community College District a hub for all the businesses to receive people into the workforce and serve the needs of the community.
Richard Morgan: Well good morning.
My name is Richard Morgan.
Thanks again for having me here.
I'm passionate about education.
And for me, this passion started when I saw all my classmates graduating from a four year university with 40, 60, and $80,000 of debt.
As a young person, trying to start a life, get married, buy a home, start a family with that much debt, hanging over you is very difficult, and a lot of students don't even have the ability to take on that much debt.
That is why our community college district is critically important to the future of Dallas County, especially given that today's younger generation has a lower percentage of students who have actually completed degrees.
We have to improve our graduation rates.
We have to get more integral degree credentials so they can get those good jobs.
And we can accomplish that within a strong community college district.
I'm also passionate about the future of education.
For me I see technology being used to make education more accessible and more available to those who couldn't traditionally be able to get that education.
For example, things like the open text book movement.
Not just to make online text book which still cost a fortune, but to make those textbooks online for free or for close to free, well if you order a paperback copy of it for 20, 30 dollars, that there's things that we're seeing advances, where you can take world class lectures, high quality, high definition video on your computer for free, from Stanford, Harvard, any university you want to that produces these, the problem is you can't get college credit for that.
And I know that because when I was a student, I would take these courses but I couldn't get credit for it.
And we're told that he'd have to go sit in the classroom and re-learn the skills you may have already learned through your job from on the job training.
Because there's no way to actually prove your competency and earn that credit.
So that's why I'm running.
I'm passionate about this district.
I'm passionate about the opportunities we have.
I would love to earn your support.
Again, my name is Richard Morgan.
My district is northwest Dallas county.
So I don't know if anyone here lives there, but Coppell, Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Irving, and northwest Dallas.
If you live there, I'd love to have your vote.
Danny Lam: All right. Can we have a round of applause for all.