Election Information

1. Composition
2. Terms of Office
3. Elections
4. Compensation & Benefits
5. Responsibilities
6. The Board is a Lay Board
7. The Board as a Unit
8. Policy Direction
9. Statement of Purpose & Legal Authority
10. The Board's Role is Threefold
11. Board Eligibility
12. Ideal Qualifications
13. The Trustee Role
14. What Being a Trustee is Not
15. Code of Ethics
16. California's Community Colleges
17. Information About College of the Canyons
18. Additional Election Information

1. Board Composition

The Board of Trustees of the Santa Clarita Community College District is composed of five members, each elected at-large to a numbered seat during elections held in November of odd-numbered years. The terms are staggered to provide board continuity; no more than three seats are up for election during any single election.

2. Board Terms of Office

Each member serves a four-year term. Terms overlap and are staggered to provide board continuity.

3. Board Elections

Upcoming elections for respective board seats are as follows:

Seat 1: November 2017
Seat 2: November 2015
Seat 3: November 2017
Seat 4: November 2015
Seat 5: November 2017
4. Compensation and Benefits

Education Code 72425 sets the parameters that dictate the level of compensation board members can earn. Based on the number of full-time equivalent students attending College of the Canyons, board members are eligible to receive $400 per month. Attendance at all regular meetings is necessary to receive the monthly maximum amount (less taxes, etc.). Fringe benefits are available to board members (per Government Code Sections 53201 and 53205) and are comprised of medical, dental, vision and life insurance. The district pays for these benefits as they are paid for all certificated staff. Elected or appointed board members can no longer elect to become members of CalPERS unless they became a member of the board prior to July 1, 1994 and have had no break in service since that time. A board member cannot elect membership if he or she became a board member after July 1, 1994. Open enrollment for all fringe benefits begins the end of August and ends the middle of September on an annual basis.
5. Responsibilities

Strong effective boards help create strong effective institutions by focusing on their own unique responsibilities. The board’s role is significantly different than the roles of the CEO and others employed at the college. The board does not do the work of the institution, but ensures that it is done.
6. The Board is a Lay Board

Trustees are elected to a board that is responsible to represent the general citizenry for whom they hold the college in trust. The board should reflect the values of all citizens and should strive for decisions that incorporate a variety of interests. Trustees come from all professions, including education, but are not on the board to practice their profession or represent a single interest.
7. The Board as a Unit

Trustees have authority only when they are meeting as a board. The board as a whole is the legal governing unit. Trustees contribute their collective talents, skills, and backgrounds to their boards, but have no individual power. Individual trustees have no authority to direct any college staff, make no statements representing the board (unless they are reports of adopted board positions and policy), and support board decisions once they are made.
8. Policy Direction

The most important board responsibility is to make good policy, which then provides guidance for college staff. Policy is defined as board statements that define general direction and acceptable practice. The basis for this emphasis on policy is in the nature of the job. Board members are community representatives who hire a CEO to lead the institution. The CEO hires staff members who have the expertise to implement board policy and fulfill the purposes of the institution. The system works best when trustees focus their efforts on representing community interest through establishing policies that provide direction for the college. The board is most effective when it leaves the day-to-day operations to the staff and concentrates on broad values and the big picture.
9. Statement of Purpose and Legal Authority

Members of the Board of Trustees are elected as representatives of the public to govern the Santa Clarita Community College District. The Board of Trustees will set forth such policies as are necessary to govern the conduct of the district.
The Board of Trustees derives its authority from the Education Code of the State of California. The board is subject to the provisions of the Constitution of the State of California, the Rules and Regulations of the Board of Governors of the California Community College (Title 5, California Administrative Code), and its own policies and procedures.
  • Create strong ties to the community, the better to represent community interests.
  • Develop policies that establish the general direction of the college’s programs and services, quality standards, and legal, ethical and prudent parameters for college operations.
  • Monitor performance of the institution to ensure it is meeting current community needs and anticipating future trends.
11. Board Eligibility

You are eligible to be a member of the governing board if you are at least 18 years of age, a California citizen, a registered voter, not disqualified by other laws to hold public office, and a resident of the community college district. In community college districts throughout the state, boards range in size from five to nine members. At College of the Canyons, the board is a five-member board represented by numbered seats. Each seat is elected at large in the November election.
12. Ideal Qualifications

In addition to the above basic eligibility requirements, the best board members:
  • Are committed to the value of education,
  • Reflect an attitude of community service,
  • Desire to improve the entire community in which they live,
  • Have an open mind,
  • Are optimistic about the future,
  • Love learning, and
  • Seek knowledge about their trustee responsibilities. 
13. The Trustee Role

As a member of the governing board, you will:
  • Contribute to the board’s functioning as a team;
  • Bring ideas and maintain an open mind;
  • Seek to learn about and understand all interests in the community, and help buffer the college from single interests;
  • Learn about community colleges and your governing responsibilities;
  • Adhere to the standards of practice and ethics adopted by your board;
  • Avoid conflicts of interest; and
  • Advocate for the district in the community, state and nation.
14. What Being a Trustee is Not

You have no personal authority as an individual trustee. Individual power is expressed as one member of a board through personal influence, persuasion, and knowledge. Individual trustees do not direct college staff or programs.
15. Code of Ethics

The Board of Trustees is elected by and accountable to the voters of the Santa Clarita Community College District to determine the direction and policies of the District in pursuit of its mission. To promote a healthy academic environment for the students, faculty and staff which inspires and challenges the College’s community to greater service and achievements, to establish a norm for trustee performance, and in the spirit of mutual trust and support, the Board of Trustees adopts this Code of Ethics.
Excellence of Board of Trustee functioning is seen as an integral component of the striving for institutional excellence. This Code of Ethics is supported by the Organizational Values developed by the administrative leadership of the District and is approved by the Board of Trustees. The adoption of the Code of Ethics by the Board is our commitment to a set of values guiding our performance. As the Board strives for excellence and adherence to these values, it serves as a model and leader in encouraging all members of the District community to pursue and achieve excellence.
The Board maintains high standards of ethical conduct for its members. Each member of the Board is responsible to:
  • Hold the educational welfare of the students of the District as his/her primary concern in all decisions and act only in the best interests of the entire community. Communicate the Board’s interest in and respect for student accomplishments by attending student ceremonies and events Act only in the best.
  • Ensure the District maintains equality of opportunity for all students regardless of race, creed, sex, religion, age, physical ability, national origin, or sexual orientation.
  • Ensure a model atmosphere in which controversial issues can be presented fairly demonstrating respect and consideration for Board members, citizens, students and College staff.
  • Respect others, act with civility, and use appropriate channels of communication.
  • Confine Board action to policy determination, planning, evaluation and maintaining the fiscal stability of the District. Delegate authority for the execution of these items on a day-to-day basis to the Chief Executive Officer of the District.
  • Conduct all District business in open public meetings, unless, in the judgment of the Board and only for those purposes permitted by law, it is appropriate to discuss District business in closed session. Maintain the confidentiality of privileged information discussed in closed session.
  • Devote time, thought, energy, effort and ability to the Board of Trustees in order to render effective service for the betterment of the College. Work to be informed about the district, educational issues, responsibilities of trusteeship, and devote adequate time to board work.
  • Be an advocate of the College in the community by encouraging support for and interest in College of the Canyons.
  • Avoid situations which have or appear to have potential for personal gain and act honestly and openly at all times, preventing conflicts of interest and the perception of conflicts of interest.
  • Remember that Board members have authority only when acting as a Board legally in session, or when acting in pursuance of specific instructions of the Board. Accept the concept that each Board member is only one member and can exercise authority only as a board.
  • Hold the educational welfare of the students as the primarily concern in all decisions and assure that opportunity for high quality education for all students regardless of sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or handicap.
  • Recognize that the primary duty of the Board is to represent the entire community while maintaining an independent judgment unbiased by special interests or other politically active, narrowly focused groups.
16. California’s Community Colleges

There are 72 community college districts in California, each with its own locally elected governing board. Forty-eight of the districts are single-college districts. Twenty-four have multiple colleges. The 72 districts comprise the California Community College System. It is governed by the Board of Governors, which is charged with setting broad policy direction for the colleges and adopting regulations that implement legislative mandates. The governor appoints members of the Board of Governors, which works with the chancellor of the community college system to provide oversight.
The community colleges’ policy of open access offers the opportunity of higher education for all who are able to profit from instruction. More than 2.4 million students attend 112 colleges with enrollments ranging from 1,800 full-time equivalent students to 99,000 students. Almost all colleges have comprehensive programs that prepare students to transfer to universities, enter the workforce in professional and technical fields, and upgrade their academic and workforce skills. Colleges also engage in partnerships with business and community agencies, offer community services and cultural activities, and provide leadership in their communities.
17. Information about College of the Canyons

College of the Canyons is a fast-growing, fast-paced, exciting college with a variety of classes, programs and opportunities for our students. With nearly 25,000 students enrolled, COC offers an affordable higher education at a fraction of the cost of a California State University, University of California or private college.
If you are interested in learning more about being a member of the Board of Trustees, please feel free speak to one of our board members or contact the Chancellor for more information.
18. Additional Election Information

The Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office can be accessed at http://www.lavote.net or by calling (800) 815-2666. Interested persons should contact the Registrar-Recorder’s office for information about specific upcoming elections.
Source: Some of this information was obtained from the Community College League of California’s Trustee Handbook.