Hope Springs at City College

Early Budget Projections Offer Reasons for Optimism

Saturday, January 26, 2013
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A new-look Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees gathered for an uncharacteristically short meeting on Thursday afternoon to discuss some uncharacteristically good news.

For instance, new positions have been identified for seven of the eight employees whose current posts will be eliminated due to the college’s reorganization in which continuing education classes will either be assimilated into the Educational Programs administrative structure or reconstituted as part of a new privately-funded entity called The Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL). Applications for the top job in the CLL, executive director, are currently being reviewed.

The passage of Proposition 30 and Governor Jerry Brown’s subsequent budget proposal also bode well for the college. It’s hard to know how the budget will shake out after it gets through the wood chipper of the State Assembly and then gets filtered through the state community college system’s Board of Governors.

But Vice President of Business Services, Joe Sullivan, reported that, as it stands, the budget should net the system an added $196.9 million in Proposition 98-guaranteed funds, $2.5 million specifically for City College. Some more speculative chunks of change include $16.9 million for online courses, a $450 million energy efficiency funded that would net SBCC $750,000, and a shifting of resources from K-12 schools to community colleges to centralize adult education offerings. Furthermore, the state will make good on $179 million of deferred payments — money it owes the colleges but has not paid. Such deferrals — of which $622 million-worth will still exist — force colleges to borrow money.

The budget also proposes that students with over 90 credits pay non-resident fees. But even those will decrease, if only by a dollar. After board approval, SBCC will now charge $211 per unit, down from $212. The purpose of the policy is to prioritize students whose intent it is to transfer.

Another policy with the intention of keeping students on schedule to either transfer or earn certificates will apportion money only for every student that completes a course. The current formula counts the number of enrolled students after 20 percent of a semester is completed. According to the governor’s budget proposal, the state would phase in this change over five years.

The biggest reason for optimism may be unmeasurable in dollars and cents, however. After much turmoil over the last couple years, it seems like the entire City College community is settling back into widespread collegiality. Classifed employee union President Liz Auchincloss noted “more cohesiveness than there has been in the past year.” Newly-installed trustee Craig Nielsen said, “As a new board member, I thought I would stumble into all kinds of dysfunctional things,” but found that wasn’t the case.

The college will soon issue a revised mission statement and vote on the issuance of a new series of Measure V bonds at the next board meeting on February 28.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Please do your research more thoroughly. Call anyone at SB Continuing Ed and you will get all the facts straight. There are many more than 7 or 8 employees who are losing their jobs, including all 5 Continuing Education Directors, the Dean and the VP, some of whom have been in the job for at least 10 years. No attempt has been made to find them new positions. It is a pity that with all of the money that is coming in to the college, the board policy of avoiding layoffs at all cost by finding positions for its employees is not being followed, despite the rosy and incomplete statement you quoted.

Once you confirm this information, I beg you to please ammend your article, since it is a travesty to not even acknowledge the fact that this is happening to these very dedicated individuals who battled for the past few years working 60-70 hours per week trying to save Continuing Education for the community.

anacleta (anonymous profile)
January 27, 2013 at 10:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Eight full-time classified employee positions were eliminated. As anacleta indicated, that does not include administrator contracts that were not renewed. It also does not include the hourly workers who will be effected.

VP of Continuing Ed, Ofelia Arellano, has taken a job at Pasadena City College.

brandon (Brandon Fastman)
January 28, 2013 at 9:41 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Good article, Brandon, thank you.
I respect your position, anacleta, but nonetheless the basic function of SBCC is not to keep supporting Continuing Ed but help younger students get into 4-year colleges and/or have vocational training so they can get good jobs in this society. This whole thing about Continuing Ed has been hassled through and it will have to become self-sustaining. I am older myself and this will cost me some money, but sad to say the main mission of SBCC is NOT to offer us oldsters free or very cheap classes.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 29, 2013 at 4:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

First of all, thank you Brandon, for correctly quoting the facts, although the damage is done, since most people do not follow these comments.

Secondly, I acknowledge your point of view, DrDan. But my point was not that we need to save Continuing Education (although it's mission is far wider than offering classes to us oldsters). Rather I was pointing out that although a very few (only 7) of the people who have lost their jobs due to this reorganization have been re-assigned to the Credit program, the rest of the people who have worked for years for SBCC, have lived their entire careers here, who have entrenched families and homes and are a huge part of the Santa Barbara community, have not been afforded the same right, as the SBCC Board policy states, to have their jobs be re-assigned to the Credit program and thus they now have to leave all what is near and dear to them. To not count or acknowledge them amongst those who have lost their jobs by saying that they worked under contracts, or that they were hourly employees is a travesty to the hard work all of these people. At the very least they are owed the acknowledgement that they should be counted, not ignored, and that was all I was trying to say.

The people who are not being counted have been the heart of the program for many years and were very surprised that somehow, after all these years, they are not considered to be employees of SBCC, and thus are not being mentioned nor acknowledged as collateral damage to the re-org, painting things rosier than they actually are, and thus allowing the SBCC Board and administration to not follow through with the policies that they promised to uphold.

As a reporter, digging deeper than the surface is always a good idea, and would have been extremely helpful in this case. I actually, request, Brandon, that you look further into this, if your mission is to have Santa Barbara be informed of what's going on in our community.

Thanks for listening.

anacleta (anonymous profile)
January 29, 2013 at 11:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

As an aside, when DrDan writes that the main duty of the college is, and I quote: "the basic function of SBCC is not to keep supporting Continuing Ed but help younger students get into 4-year colleges and/or have vocational training so they can get good jobs in this society."

I'd like to add a link that might be useful to know, the SBCC Mission and Values Statement:

Don't be afraid to open it, it is very short, only a few paragraphs. In fact, the very 2nd paragraph states the following:
"The College serves all segments of its diverse community by maintaining quality programs, by collaborating with local organizations to identify new educational needs and develop programs to meet those needs, and by continually expanding its efforts to meet the educational needs of traditionally underserved groups. The College responds to the needs of the South Coast community by offering a comprehensive continuing (adult) education program and developing programs that support economic development. As part of that larger community, SBCC is also committed to valuing the dynamic diversity of the community and to adopting sustainable practices and exercising good citizenship."

I would underline "all segments" and "underserved groups", if I could, but this comments section does not allow for that option.

I heartily agree that we must educate young people to get jobs, but the older people who have lost their jobs in the last few years of economic devastation also deserve to be re-educated and they cannot always enroll in the credit classes offered at the college. Thus Continuing Education has a mission way beyond that of offering art to "us oldsters", and the Mission Statement of the SBCC heartily proclaims that vision.

Respectfully, Anacleta

anacleta (anonymous profile)
January 29, 2013 at 12:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This was written by the new board of trustees that ousted Serban. This is one area I agree with Dr. Dan on. The main purpose SBCC is to prepare people to transfer to a 4 year university or to provide vocational training to get jobs. It's not to provide entertainment to our idle elderly.

Serban was an efficient leader of SBCC, but her interpersonal relationship skills needed work. Her priorities were on educating our young for transfer to a 4 year university or job training. The current board of trustees lead by Marty Blum succumbed to public pressure to oust Serban and prioritize these adult ed classes that are not part of SBCC's primary mission.

SBCC remains a great institution despite the board of trustee's efforts to make it otherwise.

Botany (anonymous profile)
January 29, 2013 at 12:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

watch out Botany, there's a bad moon rising when WE agree!

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 29, 2013 at 12:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

To my knowledge, this has always been the Mission Statement, before this Board. But I will do my research, since I try not to spout unconfirmed theories whenever possible. I do not have a good guys vs bad guys approach, nor, again, was it my intent to re-ignite the Cont Ed/Serban/BOT controversy.

I was simply writing this comment to inform the reporter, and hopefully some readers, that the statement "7 of the 8 employees whose current posts will be eliminated" is inaccurate, and this inaccuracy is hurtful and demeaning to the whole group of people losing their jobs that remain unaccounted for. I mean, who will argue whether the re-organization is a good or a bad plan, when at worst, only 1 person has lost their job, according to the article. Kudos! Right?
Unfortunately, ignoring the actual facts results in a reality that is much harsher and adds insult to injury.

anacleta (anonymous profile)
January 29, 2013 at 1 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In fact, as I re-read the ending paragraph of this article, it states the following: "The college will soon issue a revised mission statement and vote on the issuance of a new series of Measure V bonds at the next board meeting on February 28."

It seems to me that the Mission Statement has yet to be revised. Maybe Brandon can find out for us?

anacleta (anonymous profile)
January 29, 2013 at 1:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In what way would it possibly need revision? No longer in the business of education and higher thinking?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 29, 2013 at 1:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually, it seems to me, DrDan and Botany, that you jump to the conclusion that I am defending Continuing Ed's interests, while avoiding the take into account that I am mentioning an oversight, whether intentional or not remains to be seen, perpetrated by the current the administration. It is they who have ignored in their reports the fact that all these individuals are losing their jobs, not just one. The pro and cons of an issue should both be known.

Once again, my point is that I believe all people should deserve the same respect, no matter in this case if they work for Credit or Non-Credit.

So please, when you enter the fray guns ablaze, first make sure you are fighting the correct war.

anacleta (anonymous profile)
January 29, 2013 at 1:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

But it is hard to avoid the question: considering that virtually all of the Continuing Ed classes are now going to be fee classes, and that there will be no more cheap or free classes for the "idle", as you called them, in what way, pray, do you see Marty Blum and her Board have actually won?

anacleta (anonymous profile)
January 29, 2013 at 1:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Blum and the board "won" by succeeding in ousting Serban. In the process the board violated the Brown act and SBCC received a ding on their accreditation as a result.

Dr. Serban gave a lower priority to continuing education which was one of main areas of discontent with her leadership.

Dr. Serban was essentially fired but given two years pay at taxpayers expense.

Botany (anonymous profile)
January 29, 2013 at 2 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And yet, Dr Serban's lower priority to Continuing Ed is being effectively put into place. Cont. Ed is being dismantled. "Idler" classes are now going to have to sustain themselves, and classes still supported by the State are going under the leadership of the Credit Program. You should be giving yourself a hearty backslap instead of complaining.

But I see the initial point I was making is not one that interests you, since the only answers I have received have been off topic and concerning old issues, and not the current issue that I wrote about in the first place.

anacleta (anonymous profile)
January 29, 2013 at 2:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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