Publication Date: Friday, October 31, 2003
(October 31, 2003)
By Julie O'Shea
With higher education's finances in a slump, Norman Shaskey says it is time for the Foothill-De Anza Community College District to regain local control and stop waiting for Sacramento to fix the funding snafus.
"What we've got to do is change the system; it's totally broke," Shaskey said. "We are not getting our fair share of (state) revenue."
Shaskey, a 56-year-old former Mountain View mayor who is now a certified public accountant, was appointed to the college board in the mid-1970s and spent three years helping make executive decisions for the two-campus district.
He said he'd like another four years to help Foothill-De Anza get out of the red ink and is hopeful voters will take into consideration his years of community service when they go to the polls on Tuesday.
"I've done this before," Shaskey said. "There is a budget crisis."
Shaskey said he'd like to see the district reduce unnecessary overhead costs - "the non-teaching things."
He'd also like to see administrators build more strategic partnerships with businesses that have the potential of being big money donors. In turn, Shaskey said, Foothill-De Anza will provide local businesses with trained workers.
"The biggest challenge will be the budget," said Shaskey, who used to work as an auditor at Bank of America. "I know the budget is very thin."
Shaskey said he is willing to do whatever it takes to help the college district get out of its financial rut, even if that takes him all the way to Capitol Hill.
Shaskey was 26 the first time he sat on the college board and traveled to Washington, D.C. to testify before the U.S. Senate on changing the way the federal government funded higher education.
One of the things Shaskey said frustrated him during his first term on the board was all the "misspending" he saw going on.
"It got out of hand," Shaskey said.
Shaskey, who was instrumental in giving Foothill-De Anza Community College District the name it has today, said he enjoys public service and that is one of the main reasons he decided to run for a board seat.
"I like being busy," he said. "I like making the community better."
Asked why he didn't run earlier, Shaskey said this year had just worked out for him. Plus, Shaskey added, "it is really hard to unseat an incumbent," and up until now, it's been incumbents who have been running for the elected office.
Shaskey, a 42-year resident of Mountain View, was on the city council from 1986-1995, during which time he helped revitalize Castro Street.
Shaskey's father was a colonel in the U.S. Air Force and the family moved around a lot. Born in Denver, Shaskey lived in London, New York and Washington, D.C. before moving to Mountain View when he was 14. Prior to earning degrees in economics and earth science from UC Santa Barbara, Shaskey attended both Foothill and De Anza, where he later spent a few years teaching courses. He has one daughter, Laura, 22, who attends UC Davis and is spending this semester in Queensland, Australia, studying marine biology.
In his free time, Shaskey trains for triathlons. In 2000 he competed in Escape from Alcatraz.
Norman John Shaskey
Goal: To regain local control of college district spending from the state. Shaskey said he also wants to form more strategic partnerships with big businesses.
Profession: Certified public accountant
Civic service: Mountain View City Council, 1986-1995. Foothill-De Anza Community College District Board of Trustees 1974-1977. Chair of the Santa Clara County-Airport Landuse Commission.
Residence: Mountain View
Education: UC Santa Barbara, degrees in economics and earth science