This letter supports Bruce Ketron for re-election to the Napa College board of trustees.
Bruce Ketron has the experience needed to guide our college through the next four years. We are only now emerging from the serious budget crisis of the past few years. A crisis in state funding that led to a serious decline in student population and a degradation in the college's buildings and grounds.
While it is attractive to think, as Ketron's opponent seems to believe, that one can merely wave a wand and new programs will magically appear, miraculously funded, and instantly successful. Would that we be so lucky. Unfortunately, that is simply not the case. The new programs we would all like to see require three thing: 1) program approval from the state chancellor's office (to be sure that community colleges are not supporting redundant programs); 2) adequate facilities to house such programs; and 3) faculty and staff to support the new programs.
Even if the chancellor's office provides immediate approval, which seems unlikely, especially since the other two requirements are sadly absent. The college lacks the facilities, especially up-to-date facilities, to support and provide space for technologically advanced programs. You just cannot stuff technologically advanced programs in 50-year-old buildings. How will these new programs be supported if the college is out of space for its current programs, much less new ones. This is, of course, where the new facilities supported by the proposed bond will aid in the expansion of programs that will benefit students, the community and the economy. Delay only adds to the ultimate cost and denies students the new or remodeled facilities these new programs require. The new bond begins this process now, not years down the road, denying students these new opportunities for years to come.
Once the facilities are in place, the faculty and staff must be found and paid to operate these programs. The current bond will not assist in finding funds to operate the new facilities and programs. Those funds need to be found in the state funding or alternative grants. Minimum state funding for students hardly makes a dent in the higher costs for some of these programs. Grants will surely not (be) forthcoming for programs for which the college does not have adequate facilities. These are complex, interrelated issues that require experience and judgment to resolve.
Ketron has wrestled with these questions during his time on the board. He knows how to put together the resources necessary to bring about these new programs, and more importantly, to work to fund them. It is not pie-in-the-sky, based on hope over realism; it is hard-nosed, time-tested, realistic, solution-oriented. For these reasons, Ketron gets my vote for a seat on the college board this election.