Serot Recognized for Leadership

JORDAN WATROUS
Special to El Vaquero

Amid the uncertainty and fiscal instability that plagues community college campuses statewide, a GCC administrator received recognition for his efforts to fight for equitable community college funding statewide.

Larry Serot, executive vice president of administrative services, was given the Walter Star Roble Award at the fall conference for the California Community College Association for Chief Business Officers in Sacramento Oct. 15.

The association, composed of community college business officers statewide, has given the award annually since 1989. It bears name of a deceased chief business officer who was recognized for his efforts to mentor and train other business officers, and is awarded in recognition of the outstanding service and contributions a peer has made to his or her district, the state community college system and to the profession.
According to Jerry Patton, vice president of administrative services at Palomar Community College and president of the Association for Chief Business Officers, Serot was selected by all 10 board members for the award because of his outstanding service relating to community college budgets over the past few years.

“[Serot] has brought an awareness of the fiscal stability needed for community colleges to the legislators,” said Patton. “It is hard to get [legislators] to understand that.”

Serot began working for the community college system in March 1973. He came to GCC in July 1992 and has served in his current position ever since. Serot was the president of the Association for Chief Business Officers in 2000 and 2001, the first member to serve as president for two consecutive years, and is currently serving on the state’s Chancellor’s Consultation Council, which advises state legislators on needs of the community college system.

During his tenure as president of the association, Serot argued for improved funding for community colleges. Serot has argued against Gov. Gray Davis’ proposed budget cuts and has drafted an alternative budget proposal that was eventually adopted by the state legislature. To Serot, this award represents all his hard work.

“[This award] is recognition of a lot of hard work and many hours in Sacramento away from my family and my work here at [GCC],” said Serot. “Recognition from your peers is far more welcome and satisfactory than any other award that can be received.” President John A. Davitt agreed.

“It’s a great honor for Larry [Serot] to be recognized as the outstanding community college business administrator by his peers,” said Davitt.

Currently, Serot is working with a group of business officers on the issue of equalization. This issue addresses the fact that not all districts receive the same level of funding from the sate. Glendale is one of the districts that is affected by underfunding. Serot and his peers hope to put together a proposal on equalization for the next fiscal year.

Serot believes there is inconsistency in money allocated from Proposition 98, which provides funding for K-12 education as well as the community college system. He also believes that there needs to a predictable increase in student fees to accommodate the rising cost of education.