Faced with a disgruntled crowd of Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL) students, SBCC President Lori Gaskin laid out a possible program shift between the school’s main campus and Wake and Schott centers during three well-attended workshops last week. Gaskin said the purpose of the workshops was to help draft a plan to better utilize the space at the three campuses, possibly alleviating congestion at the main campus. “This is not about enrollment growth,” Gaskin pledged.
But driving many critical comments from audience members was a deep-rooted fear that CLL classes would eventually be terminated to make room for for-credit college students. The concern dates back a few years when the school ended the state-funded arm of Adult Ed courses for fee-based CLL classes. Currently, about 11,400 students have taken classes since CLL’s inception in 2013, and 300-400 courses are offered each term for $5.54 per hour. Several audience members demanded assurance from administrators that CLL courses would not be phased out. “We want it in big, bold letters,” one speaker said.
Three of the four scenarios move all CLL classes to either Wake or Schott. The SBCC nursing program could move to Schott, which is located across the street from Cottage Hospital, and cosmetology courses may shift to Wake. Equipment-heavy programs in the marine or culinary departments, as well as transfer and degree courses, would stay on the main campus. But several public commenters were not sold that CLL is here to stay. “When did the community throw out its elders?” charged one CLL student.
Other questions were raised about where construction funds would come from as the $288 million facilities bond called Measure S failed in November. Gaskin said Measure S is irrelevant to the workshops, though she added Governor Jerry Brown has made it clear that the burden of modernizing community college facilities falls on the area electorate.