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By Kyle R. Cotton
District 1 incumbent Joe Alderate has served on the board of trustees since June 2010 and has been chair of the Student Success Committee and believes the Alamo Colleges’ success during his term calls for him to continue on the board.
“My past six years of experience have shown during my time on the board a great number of changes have positively affected the Alamo Colleges. One was keeping our focus on graduates and people who receive licensing and certification,” Alderate said. “It’s there, the numbers are there; from 3,000 and change to 9,800 in May 2014. That’s a very simple score card to evaluate it by.”
Alderate said the increased graduation rate puts the Alamo Colleges at No. 2 in the state behind Dallas Community College District.
Alderate is hopeful that following the evaluation of the number of graduates in 2015, the Alamo Colleges will be first in the state and move toward being first in the country in number of graduates.
“That is our mission, to be the best in the nation,” Alderate said. “We are now in the direction we need to be in order to be the most successful in the nation.”
Alderate also said that since his time on the board, the Alamo Colleges have saved $100 million through budgeting. He said those savings gave Alamo Colleges the flexibility to implement initiatives like AlamoAdvise, Alamo Institutes and FranklinCovey.
“That money we managed to save gave us the chance to apply it to other endeavors. It’s not just the Covey endeavor; it’s other initiatives,” Alderate said. He said he doesn’t view Covey as an unwise investment — even though he admits there has been some resistance to it from faculty.
A tabled policy still being considered would not allow students and faculty to speak at citizens-to-be-heard unless they “exhaust all administrative options.”
“Any faculty member, any student can speak to any board member at any time,” he said. “Now, it may not be at that formal board meeting, but it can be at any discussion with a board member because we are elected officials. So the access to board members has not been eliminated.”
Alderate said he believes the Alamo Colleges should stay affordable and maintain its status as one of the low-cost community colleges in the state.
“I have voted against every single tuition rate increase that has happened. I have voted against every single tax increase that has been presented to the board,” he said.
Alderate voted for a tax increase in 2012, but clarified his statement saying he opposed the increases at the committee level and tried to find alternative forms of funding.
“I would be denying the colleges the funding they need when it comes to the budget,” Alderate said.