The Peralta Community College District has struggled under the weight of reduced funding, financial mismanagement, wasteful spending, lavish perks for trustees and an inept and ethically challenged chancellor who was finally replaced.
While we're hopeful his permanent replacement can finally right the ship, there unfortunately has been little turnover on the seven-member governing board. District elections have slipped under the radar.
This year, the three incumbents seeking re-election drew no challengers. That's a shame. But in Area 2, where Trustee Marcie Hodge is stepping down after two terms, four candidates seek the seat.
The district and students face huge challenges. State-set student fees have more than doubled in recent years; student enrollment has declined 20 percent; and teaching positions have been cut 23 percent. Meanwhile, the district faces $236 million of unfunded liabilities for its retiree health plan, a debt equal to about four years of full-time employees' salaries.
The district needs a trustee with critical-thinking skills who believes in transparency and understands the inner workings of school districts.
One candidate stands out: attorney Meredith Brown, whose two decades of law practice have focused on representing public agencies. She understands the intricacies of contracts, bonds and local government law. She has an attention to detail currently lacking on the Peralta board.