GCC board hopefuls state their case

Vartan Gharpetian

Age: 49

Occupation: small business owner, real estate broker, Glendale Commercial Inc.

Why are you running for the board?

I decided to run for a seat on the Board of Trustees, because I am well aware of and concerned about the current difficulties and challenges that Glendale Community College is facing. Two of the most important issues are the accreditation and budget.

Accreditation — A warning has been put on Glendale Community College by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior College team since last spring. This is a very serious issue which needs immediate attention.

Budget — The college is facing many problems due to the state budget crisis. The cutback in funding has resulted in cutting back on the number of classes offered to students at a time when more individuals are returning to college because of being laid off from their jobs and needing new work skills. In addition, more high school seniors tend to attend community colleges due to the increase in tuition of UC and Cal State systems. Furthermore, Glendale Community College has had a hiring freeze for the last three years. As a successful businessman/entrepreneur for more than 25 years, I will share my experience and knowledge in negotiating and achieving a well balanced budget.

What could Glendale Community College be doing better?

Resolve the accreditation issue in a timely manner, and find ways to prevent future incidents. Due to the increase in demand for career educational programs, the college should conduct a regional marketing survey and offer more such courses in their curriculum. Increase the public outreach efforts in order to improve community involvement with the college.

How will you serve as an advocate for community colleges at a time when funding is being slashed?

As a Delegate of State of California Democratic Party Central Committee, I will be a strong advocate for community colleges with the state Legislature for increased funding.

If not elected, how will you continue to be involved with the college?

I have been an active member of the community for the last 10 years in several nonprofit and philanthropic foundations and organizations and I will continue to do so regardless. If not elected, I would be honored to have the opportunity to be part of the Glendale Community College Foundation.


Tony Tartaglia

Age: 46

Occupation: mechanical engineer, public affairs manager, Southern California Gas Co.

An 11-year Glendale resident, I was first elected to the Glendale Community College Board of Trustees in 2007. I serve as president. A mechanical engineer by trade, I have worked for the Southern California Gas Co. for more than 20 years where I am currently a public affairs manager. I have served on the Glendale College Foundation Board of Directors for 13 years, helping grow the endowment by more than $2.5 million.

Why are you seeking re-election?

Although much has been accomplished during my first four years on the board of trustees, I feel there is more to be done.

We have to finish the new building and upgrades to the Garfield Campus (this will require seeking additional funding to complete the parking structure and transportation infrastructure between the main campus and Garfield), preside over the renewal of our accreditation, manage a multi-year budget shortfall brought on by the state’s fiscal crisis, and implement the first upgrade to our main campus signature point (Verdugo Boulevard/Mountain Street corner) through growing the new Campus Beautification Endowment.

Also, in this time of crisis, Glendale Community College’s fantastic administrators, faculty and classified staff deserve a leadership team that is open, honest and can deliver a consistent message of fiscal responsibility and clear policy direction. I have helped create that environment on our board of trustees and wish to continue.

What could Glendale Community College be doing better?

As an institution of higher education, we must always strive to improve and better our college. As pointed out in our recent accreditation report, we need to better link our resource allocation process (budget and personnel) with our Educational Master Plan. I feel our campus has taken this issue to heart and is well on its way to implementing a well thought out, strengthened, integrated planning and resource allocation process.

How will you serve as an advocate for community colleges at a time when funding is being slashed?

As I stated four years ago, one of my key responsibilities as a trustee is to bring in new resources to the college. I will continue to seek those resources through my efforts to lobby state and federal officials, build new endowments, such as the Campus Beautification Endowment, and help facilitate new opportunities for Career Technology courses, like the creation of the Verdugo Power Academy. Also, I will work with local governments (the city and Glendale Unified) to help develop synergies that can reduce costs and increase educational opportunities for our faculty.

If not elected, how will you continue to be involved with the college?

I will always hold a special place in my heart for Glendale Community College. If not elected, I will apply to serve on the foundation, continue lobbying efforts to state and federal officials for more resources, and help build the Campus Beautification Endowment.

Vahe Peroomian

Age: 46

Occupation: physics instructor, researcher, UCLA

I was first appointed to the board in 2005, and then was elected in 2007. I’m a physics professor and senior researcher at UCLA. I have lived in Glendale for 32 years, and am a member of the Glendale College Foundation President’s Circle. Since joining the board, I’ve played a key role in establishing the college’s first 5% reserve policy, and helped oversee the construction of a new building at the Garfield Campus.

Why are you seeking re-election?

I have served on the board of trustees for six years, and as board president during 2009-10. During this time, I have helped guide the college through two changes of superintendent/president, and through a very intensive accreditation process.

At the same time, the board has guided the college through declining enrollment, where innovative programs were created to attract students to the college, and through two years of budget cuts during which students were not turned away by working with our faculty and staff to accommodate larger class sizes. I feel that my experience in post-secondary education and expertise in online education can help guide the college through the current economic downturn and through the future challenges of a “landlocked” campus surrounded by other districts that can and may attract our potential students.

What could Glendale Community College be doing better?

The college has begun to have a better understanding of the career tech (vocational) education needs of the community, but this needs to improve. The college has also been slow to roll out an online AA-degree program, but this is also in the works, and the board needs to insure that the college does not fall behind in this aspect of education, as some neighboring districts are already offering full programs. The college also needs to continue to diversify its faculty and staff to better reflect the ethnic makeup of the community it serves.

How will you serve as an advocate for community colleges during a time when funding is being slashed?

I will continue to lobby lawmakers on the state and federal level for funding of specific programs and projects at the college. Just in the past two years, we have received stimulus funds for the Verdugo Power Academy ($1 million), have been earmarked to receive funding for the multi-modal parking and transportation facility for Garfield Campus (more than $2 million), and may also receive $600,000 for updating our police facilities. We have also received a private donation of $1 million for our health sciences building.

The college needs to look to new sources of funding for programs, including NASA and the National Science Foundation. Last year, I identified a NASA planetarium fund program that can be used to pay for and update our state-of-the-art planetarium. As a trustee, I will continue to strengthen my ties to the community to solicit donations for college programs and our foundation, lobby Congress for funding, and advocate for identifying short- and long-term grants from non-traditional sources that can pay for specific programs at the College.

If not elected, how will you continue to be involved with the college?

In the event that I am not elected, I will continue to be involved with the Glendale College Foundation and help raise funds for the college. I will also offer my expertise to the Academic Senate for the online education program that is in the works.

FOR THE RECORD: This corrects an earlier version to make clear that Peroomian is an instructor.

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