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Hopefuls vie for Seat 4 in college district

Posted: August 13, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: August 13, 2011 1:30 a.m.
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Trustee Bruce Fortine is being challenged by community activist Diana Shaw over Seat 4 of the Santa Clarita Community College District, which oversees College of the Canyons.

Shaw is a small-business owner, and has served as an attorney for Screen Actors Guild and later Writers Guild of America, she said. She previously ran for the 38th Assembly District seat in 2010, but has not run for COC before.
Fortine is a founding trustee for COC and wrapping up his sixth term.

Shaw said she was motivated to run for the board after being approached by community residents who wanted her on the board, she said in a statement.

“I look forward to contributing my experience toward improving the board’s responsiveness to the community and making sure that the team has as much creative input as possible to solve the challenges, including tuition increases, that face education today,” she said.

Among her ideas for benefiting COC are creating on-campus housing for students who are academically strong because it would reduce parking problems for the commuter campus.

The two candidates say budget constraints and meeting the growing needs of students are among the biggest challenges facing COC in the coming years.

Fortine said the college also needs to continue efforts to build a culinary arts building and continue working with the administration to remain strong financially, he said.

“I’ve been involved with College of the Canyons since Day 1 as a founding board member and there are still a lot of things to accomplish,” Fortine said. “I want to be part of the team that makes things happen.”

The Santa Clarita Community College District is the only local school district in which board members are elected to specific seats, although they serve at-large and do not represent specific areas of the district.

College of the Canyons, which has campuses in Valencia and Canyon Country, is the only community college within the Santa Clarita Valley and counts about 23,000 students annually.

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