Laura Bollinger for Citrus Board of Trustees
Laura Bollinger is running for the Citrus College Board of Trustees on the ballot this election season. It’s part of a special COURIER Q&A with each one of the three candidates.
The Citrus Community College Board of Trustees may not be as well known as the other local races, city council and school board. What would you like voters to know about the board and why it is important to Claremont?
Ms. Bollinger: The importance of Citrus College in our Claremont community is often overlooked. Citrus is a place for transfer students, associate degrees and career technical certifications that benefit both our Claremont students and our community. Since one of the roles of a trustee is to make sure Citrus is meeting the needs of our Claremont students and to advocate for Citrus in our community, I would make sure to ask the right questions. What can be done to expand the dual enrollment program at Claremont USD? How can Citrus make the transition from Claremont USD to Citrus College smoother? Are Claremont students completing their goals? If not, why not? Claremont deserves a trustee with strong community ties who can ask the right questions while listening to the concerns of all residents.
What is your position on Measure Y and what would you say to voters to support your position?
Ms. Bollinger: Citrus College needs Measure Y, mostly for infrastructure and technology upgrades. I understand this is a difficult economic climate, but the campus has needs that must be met to ensure student success. Several of the buildings, although upgraded at some point, are original to the campus. Citrus still has buildings with old electrical systems, asbestos, and lead paint. Some do not meet current ADA requirements and others need seismic upgrades. The new Facilities Master Plan has outlined these needed upgrades and Measure Y will fund these needs. A new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) building will serve current and future students for years to come. The CTE (Career and Technical Education) Center will allow for the growth of programs for emerging technologies. New, up-to-date labs will provide students with the latest technology to ensure they are getting a cutting-edge education. This type of forward thinking will help our local economy grow by providing training for the jobs of the future. Additionally, multiple industries have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and many individuals will be looking for re-training. A strong community college will provide the retraining needed to rebuild a strong local economy and help our region recover from the by the COVID-19 disruptions.
Please share what will be your number one priority should you be elected to the Citrus College board.
Ms. Bollinger: My number one priority at Citrus would be to advocate for student success. Student success means completion of educational goals by obtaining a degree, transferring, or earning a certification. To ensure that students can achieve success, Citrus must provide access to the classes required for program completion and must provide sufficient student services to assist students who face barriers to completing their education.
With upcoming state budget uncertainties stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, all decisions must be made based on carefully considered, evidence-based data. Student outcomes data is one factor that must be carefully considered, as it will illustrate where students are succeeding and where students are falling through the cracks. In these financially uncertain times, Citrus needs trustees who can make these challenging decisions and can collaborate with the other four trustees to ensure the long-term success of Citrus College.
Moving public colleges to online instruction has been challenging for teachers, students and families. Is there anything positive or have we learned anything new from the process?
Ms. Bollinger: While nearly everyone would say that in-person classes are preferable for most learning experiences, many positive things resulted from the forced change to online learning. When the shift to online first occurred, Citrus needed to quickly get the proper procedures in place, to provide technological training, and to make sure that faculty, staff, and students all had the tools they needed to work remotely. While Citrus previously had a few online classes before the pandemic, COVID-19 provided an opportunity to enhance the technology and processes for online learning including upgraded videoconferencing capabilities that will make these online classes a better experience in the future. The pandemic also exposed the many barriers students face with access to technology, and offered an opportunity to address those needs through the Citrus College Foundation and the CARES Act. Moving to online learning as a result of COVID-19 has equipped Citrus to handle other future situations that may require working and learning remotely.
What unique skills will you bring to the board and why did you decide to run?
Ms. Bollinger: I’m a lifelong Citrus College advocate. While a Citrus student, I was a business major and a member of the Citrus Singers. After graduation from Citrus, I completed my business degree at Cal Poly Pomona. I have remained involved at Citrus in one way or another most of my adult life, either by volunteering with the Alumni Association and the Citrus Foundation or by attending Citrus College community events of all kinds.
My experience at Citrus, when combined with my background in the business sector and my 25 years of work on Claremont-area non-profit boards have prepared me for the role of Trustee. I have served in leadership roles for most of the organizations I worked with, where I gained experience in policy, long-range planning, and consensus building. I have built strong ties in the Claremont community and I have the support of over 300 community members who know my commitment and trust my integrity.
I am running for the role of Citrus Trustee because I am passionate about Citrus College. I cannot imagine running for any other office. With my background in both Claremont and the Citrus community, I feel I am uniquely qualified for the role of Citrus Trustee. As a Trustee, I will work to ensure the continued success of Citrus College and my passion for Citrus and its students will be evident in everything I do.