Amidst PSATs, college applications and waiting on college admission notifications, we invest in our children’s education because we understand the direct link between a good education and a good future. By extension, we also understand the link between thriving educational institutions and a thriving society.
In the last decade, community colleges have played a vital role in California’s economic trajectory, by educating, and transforming the lives of ~2 million students across the state. For us, the Peralta Community College District colleges (Merritt, Laney, Berkeley, and College of Alameda) have been our neighborhood institutions. Whether for HS dual enrollment classes, concurrent enrollment, college credit transfer classes, grandparents’ art classes, our own language classes before an Italian vacation, or swimming at the Laney pool, these institutions have been our community’s colleges.
In a post-COVID landscape however, where societal effects are not yet fully discernible but are palpably precarious, we need our community colleges to be structurally stronger and more financially stable. We need colleges who will meet students where they are, build their skills, give them hope, create opportunities and transform their lives. In sum, we need Peralta’s colleges to thrive.
For this reason, I recommend that you re-elect Cindi Reiss for Peralta Community College Board Trustee, Area 5. Cindi was first elected in 2018 with the goal of strengthening and stabilizing Peralta in the areas of finance, governance, and accountability (areas of grave concern for about two decades, as documented by ACCJC and FCMAT). In these last four years, Cindi Reiss has achieved much, starting to finally bring Peralta out of its financial hole, including staving off state takeover of the District, moving the District off accreditation probation, and no longer being considered a high risk financial district by FCMAT – but there is still more work that needs to be accomplished.
We do not yet know how critical a role community colleges will play in shaping society as longer-term pandemic effects become more manifest; however, as an educator and an accreditation commissioner, Cindi Reiss has the expertise, knowledge, and proven track record to ensure Peralta will be the strong, stable, fiscally responsible district that our communities will very much need. Please join me in voting to re-elect Cindi Reiss on November 8th.
Melissa Wilk is a Piedmont resident and the Alameda County Auditor-Controller.