By Brian Villalba
Former East Los Angeles College President Ernest Moreno is running for seat four of the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees.
Moreno is running against Joe Essavi, the Los Angeles County Commissioner. There are elections being held for three seats, but seat four has the only one that has a former ELAC president in the race.
Both candidates have political support. Moreno has the support of unions, but none of the unions that are present at ELAC. The Los Angeles Times endorsed Essavi. Seat four is also the only trustee election that the American Federation of Teachers Union chose not to endorse a candidate.
The election, which is on March 5, comes less than a month after chancellor Daniel LaVista of the LACCD announced his retirement. When asked if he would be interested in the chancellor position, Moreno said, “No.” He went on to explain that he would not be interested in taking on the extra responsibilities at this time.
Moreno considers Bond Measure construction, student access and district efficiency as the most important issues facing the LACCD. He makes a connection between student access and efficiency in cost management.
“Student access is directly connected to efficiency of cost management at all educational institutions in the LACCD,” Moreno said.
Efficiency is a focus of Moreno’s.
“Every position which I have held in a more than 40 year career with the LACCD has involved budget management,” Moreno said.
In response to the budget cuts that have affected the entire district, the LACCD has created a new budget allocation model that distributes money to the colleges based on many factors including square footage instead of student population.
The state of California provides funding to the community colleges based on student population.
“The problem we had in the ’80s with the budget allocation, which I have learned from, is that the further away we go from the way the state funds the district, the more likely we are to fail,” Moreno said.
Moreno’s view of budget effectiveness is different from that of the current allocation at the LACCD. Moreno acknowledges that this is an issue that he has disagreed with others in the LACCD.
After being at ELAC for so many years, this is a disagreement I have with many of my fellow presidents,” Moreno said.
Moreno went on to explain that, in regards to student success, academic programs are best performed by the colleges not the district.
“The budget has evolved from campus based, to district based,” Moreno said. Some of the unions have endorsed Moreno (list pending reply from Moreno), but the faculty union decided not to endorse any candidate.
Moreno was an instructor for 28 years and president for 18 years.
Moreno said that being a trustee would affect his legacy at ELAC, he just hopes it will affect it in a positive way.
During his term, the landscape of ELAC changed dramatically as the A/AA and Measure J bond program, of which Moreno was an advocate, led to the construction across the campus and the district.