Retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, 72
By Kyle R. Cotton
For the last 13 years District 2 incumbent, Denver McClendon served on the Alamo Colleges’ board of trustee and believes his experience and commitment to the vision of the Alamo Colleges make him the best person to represent his district.
“I’ve been on the board for quite some time, and I think I see the vision of the Alamo Colleges,” he said. “Our goal is to be the best community college in the nation, and if you look at our accomplishments for the past few years, you can see that we are moving toward that and I don’t want that progress to stop.”
“I feel my involvement with the board will assist that progress,” he said.
Recently, the board passed policies discouraging students and faculty from interacting with individual trustees.
A policy that did not pass but is still being considered requires students and faculty to “exhaust all administrative options” before approaching the board with concerns.
McClendon, Policy and Long-Range Planning Committee chair, said it isn’t the policy’s intent.
“We do not discourage interaction with the faculty as a board of trustees,” he said. “We have one employee, the chancellor, and we encourage employees, faculty and staff to go through the chancellor because that’s the only person we have direct control over. One of our concerns was that there could be allegations made at citizens-to-be-heard that are unfounded, and by law we cannot respond to that.”
“As trustees, we sit there and listen, so we encourage faculty to try and resolve the issue within their college before coming to citizens-to-be-heard. That’s not meant to cut them off.”
With the Alamo Colleges reporting that 55 percent of attending students are considered economically disadvantaged, McClendon said the Alamo Colleges is the best deal in the area.
“When you compare the Alamo Colleges to every other institution of higher learning in the area, we are significantly lower and our goal is to keep tuition low,” he said. “Right now, a full-load, 12-hours, runs around $900 a semester. We would like to keep it that way.
“Many of our students are low income with financial aid and Pell grants helping to curve the cost,” McClendon said. “Another factor is that state only provides 25 percent of our funding. Ideally, that should be a third of our funding and there are many efforts to get the state to increase the percentage of funding for community colleges.
“We will work toward that effort with the goal of keeping community college tuition low,” McClendon said.
He also believes the programs from FranklinCovey — which the district will pay $2 million dollars for over the next four years — has given students a leg up when they enter the workforce.
“Yes, I would consider extending it,” McClendon said. “We are constantly evaluating what we are doing. If its proven effective do it, if not, do something else.”