Maria Loya is running for Santa Monica College Board of Trustees. The following answers were submitted in response to questions from the Daily Press.

Name: Maria Loya

Age: 43

Occupation: Non-Profit Consultant

Neighborhood of residence: Pico Neighborhood

Own/Rent: Own

Marital status: Married

Kids: 2 boys – Oscar Jr and Fidel

Political affiliation: Democrat

Schooling: UT Austin

Highest degree attained: BA in Economics

Hobbies: Reading

Reading list: Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich

Last concert attended: The SM Pier Twilight Series

How do you get to and from work? Walking and Bus

What is your connection to SMC?

I have a connection to SMC through the students, faculty and its facilities. I stood with SMC students and community members to oppose the 2-tier tuition proposal. I have taken classes with the Small Business Administration department. My family and I enjoy swimming at the SMC pool and attending plays at the Broad theatre. SMC is an integral part of my family and our community.

Describe the role of the SMC Board in less than 50 words.

The most important decision that a Trustee makes is the hiring and evaluation of the College President. Board has a responsibility to ensure that SMC meets its obligations to the State and the Federal government in the grants, funds local bond money it receives from taxpayers. SMC’s current mission is to provide a safe and inclusive and affordable learning environment that encourages personal and intellectual exploration, and challenges and supports students in achieving their educational goals. The College’s programs and services assist students in the development of skills needed to succeed in college, prepare students for careers and transfer, and nurture a lifetime commitment to learning. The role is also to ensure that student success be accelerated by initiatives that have the buy-in of faculty, staff, and administration.

Do you think there is a corporatization of education at SMC?

Yes, I think that there has been some movement to corporatize the education at SMC. One example of such movement is the proposal of the two-tier tuition proposal that failed to be implemented due to student and community protest.

Does SMC need additional physical facilities? If so, where should they be built?

SMC needs to finish building the facilities that they had committed to build, such as the student service building on Pico Blvd. Future bonds should be limited in scope to decrease the burden on taxpayers , I also believe that existing buildings need to be earthquake retrofitted to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff.

Is the balance of local/non-local students correct on campus?

Less than 20 percent of the student population at SMC is from our local schools. We can do better at increasing the number of local students attending SMC. Once I’m elected I will work to implement the Santa Monica College Promise that will provide priority registration for local students.

Has SMC done enough to prepare students for the current job market?

I don’t believe that SMC has done enough to prepare students for the current job market. Santa Monica is known as Silicon Beach yet our students aren’t being considered or hired at the high-tech companies that are setting up shop in our City. SMC can play a leadership role in developing a partnership with SMMUSD, the City of Santa Monica and the High-Tech industry to create a path to employment for our residents.

What are the benefits or pitfalls of offering 4-year degrees?

Offering a 4 year degree programs expands access to our students in securing a Bachelor’s Degree however I believe that the movement to expand such degrees can erode the accessibility of existing workforce training programs. According to a recent study there is a shortage of students with Computer Science Degrees. We have an opportunity to create a 4-year degree program in Computer Science and create a career and employment path for students in Santa Monica.

What would you like to see change at SMC?

I would like to see local students get preferential enrollment or priority registration. Residents pay the bonds that make SMC possible and deal with the traffic burdens and I think we need to ensure that our elders and youth who access SMC should be given expanded access. I would also like to see SMC working more closely with SMMUSD and the City of Santa Monica to increase the number of local students attending SMC and increase the number of job opportunities in SM for local residents. All governing agencies in our City should work collaboratively to expand job and career training opportunities for our residents. The connection between Silicon Beach and SMMUSD and SMC should be strengthened for the benefit of our local economy. More local residents working in Santa Monica will reduce traffic and improve our overall quality of life.

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