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Trustee comes down hard on state agency

Claims bureaucracy is costing California schools millions

By Jon Leckie
On October 25, 2012


The Peralta Community College Board of Trustees continued its community outreach by holding its Oct. 23 meeting in Piedmont's City Hall.

In the wooded setting in the hills, PCCD Trustee Bill Withrow made clear his dissatisfaction with California's Division of State Architecture (DSA).

According to Withrow, the division, which is part of the state's Department of General Services and develops design standards and quality control procedures for architectural work, is costing the Peralta district $4.275 million in change orders for construction improvements to the 860 Atlantic Ave. project in Alameda.

Withrow's main complaint is that the renovations to the former biotech labs, which were secured by the district several years ago, are just now being completed and he placed blame squarely on bureaucratic delays at the DSA.

"We don't have money to spare," Withrow said. "Not only is the division costing us $4.275 million in construction funds, but the Peralta district must also pay for other facilities to use in the meantime."

Withrow asked the chancellor to have district lobbyists in Sacramento investigate the DSA to see how much they are costing community colleges and the K-12 system statewide and why.

Vice Chancellor Sadiq Ikharo said: "There has been concern over the DSA for years," citing a policy at the division that creates a backlog that won't be outsourced.

"The more they have on their plate, the more money they make," he said, adding that any attempts to move away from this model have been thwarted by the DSA.

In other news, the trustees approved a contract worth more than $2.5 million with the Alameda County Sheriff's office to provide police services for the district during the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Earlier in the year, trustees had approved security contracts with American Guard Services and Sercuritas Security Services to patrol the Peralta campuses on weekends, district holidays, and graveyard shifts.

The new contract, which extends through June 30, 2015, will cover an estimated 88 percent of the district's security needs.  After the first year of the contract, the Alameda County Sheriffs Office will provide the district with an annual operating budget that must be approved by the chancellor.

This year's cost of $2,780,527 for security services from the sheriff's office is up $51,899 from last year's agreement.

In total, the district has approved $3,378,816 this semester for security services in 2012-2013. 

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