At Least $150,000

In last week’s story about Marty Blum’s bid for a seat on the Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees there was a question about the accuracy of a statement I made. I said that in 2005 (under the inspiration of Lynda Fairly, then-vice president for Continuing Education) volunteers raised $150,000 for Adult Ed.

SBCC President Andreea Serban said my claim did not bear out. However, the SBCC Foundation records show $64,184 was raised in 2003/04 and another $88,064 was collected in 2004/05. Perhaps overlapping campaign years caused confusion, but the gist of my statement stands: An all-volunteer team raised a pretty impressive $152,248 for Adult Ed!

Last May, I shared this “we-can-do” success story at an Adult Ed Advisory Committee luncheon. I hoped my experience would inspire the Adult Ed Ambassadors to lift the fundraising water buckets once more to save the imperiled summer session courses. Instead, a bucket of cold water was thrown on my idea, putting a real damper on collective brainstorming.

As a long time volunteer, student, and donor to SBCC, I am jarred by so many controversial changes at the college. Why are popular programs like Parent-Child Workshop, the Center for Sustainability, and Adult Ed enhancement classes being destructed or defunded without any community problem-solving efforts? The college’s current leaders, for many of whom I have great respect, seem to be acting so peculiarly—creating wedges where they used to build webs.

I understand the college’s financial stress, but why seal the community’s creative-think-tank-treasury just when it is needed most? This is a smart, generous, and unique town, and hard problems get solved by arm-linking. The college’s stale approach of dismantling programs, dividing constituencies and discrediting volunteers is an unnecessarily negative start to SBCC’s second century!

J’Amy Brown is, among other things, past president of the Continuing Education Advisory Committee; past president of the SBCC CARE Advisory Committee; former ex-officio member of the Foundation for SBCC; former board member of the Business and Industrial Associates; former President’s Council member; and an Adult Ed student, 1995-2010.


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