This letter is to call voters’ attention to several really serious mistakes currently being made by SBCC President Serban and the Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees.

President Serban’s current budget proposal, unquestioned by the existing SBCC Board of Trustees, cuts the funding for one of their most renowned adult education programs by over 40%! Yes, that’s almost half of the funds!

The programs being emasculated are the four SBCC Parent-Child Workshops (Lou Grant, San Marcos, Starr-King and The Oaks). Serban has also arbitrarily downgraded the level of education required of the program director. It looks like her next step will be to seek to get rid of these programs entirely.

These Workshops have provided valuable skills to the parents of young children in Santa Barbara for over 50 years, together with top-quality preschool child programs. It’s clear from my many conversations with early-childhood educators over the years that they have given SBCC a truly national reputation in the field. In addition, almost every parent with whom I have discussed these programs has said something like “Gee, I wish I’d had access to something like that when my kids were preschool age!”.

Moving to destroy programs like these without direct input from Santa Barbara parents and voters is, indeed a serious mistake.

The mistakes being made by the existing SBCC Board of Trustees include their failure to question such a drastic action. They evidently failed even to ask President Serban to justify her drastic budget cut. Then, they made no serious efforts to obtain public input. It looks to me like they think they work for President Serban instead of the other way around!

Parents and voters should think twice before they vote on November 2nd for an incumbent for a School Governing Board Member. Pick someone else. It’s time to throw the rascals out.—John Sonquist, professor emeritus, UCSB


Oh, if only they came with a do-it-yourself manual, the whole child rearing thing would be so much simpler, possibly even foolproof. But that is a pipe dream. Raising children is complicated. Joyous certainly, at times overwhelming. Undeniably the single most important job us parents will ever do.

My husband, Scott, I, and our daughters, Maia (age 11) and Julia (age 8) were fortunate to attend Carpinteria’s Lou Grant Parent Child Workshop. I include all four of us in this fortune because not only did our children benefit from this unique and brilliant preschool, Scott and I flourished as parents. We learned parenting techniques in the weekly meetings that, to this day, are the mainstay of our family philosophy.

The greater Santa Barbara area is uniquely gifted with four Parent Child Workshops (PCWs). These schools are an incredible opportunity for parents to receive weekly parenting information from the highly qualified PCWs’ directors. These directors bring a wealth of education and practical experience to adults who are often learning to parent for the first time or, perhaps, are learning to parent again as more children join our families. With the addition of each child and with the passing of each year, the opportunities and challenges we face as parents are many and are often mind-boggling.

We have been lucky though. For those of us who want to roll up our sleeves and participate in the workshops, attend weekly parenting classes, and work alongside these dedicated educators, there is a wellspring of qualified professional and peer support available through the SBCC funded PCWs.

It is very out of character for me to involve myself politically but the upcoming SBCC board election is, to me, about the preservation of education, not a conversation on politics. The incumbent board has and intends to continue drastically cutting funds for our PCWs to the point that they may not survive. That would be a tragic loss. For Scott and me, our years at LGPCW are an invaluable component of who we are as parents.

I urge you to educate yourselves before you vote. Citizens 4 SBCC has identified four candidates running for election this November who are dedicated to preserving our PCWs.

These cooperative preschools and parent education programs are an absolute jewel. Nowhere else are children given such a beautiful safe space to just be kids, while, simultaneously, their parents learn comprehensive parenting techniques. I don’t know about you but without that manual, who couldn’t use some extra help?—Sarah Hinton, Carpinteria


I’m so concerned about Des O’Neill and the other incumbents running for re-election to the SBCC Board of Trustees, I’m writing this my first letter to you and warning all my friends. I attended the public forum at the Faulkner last Tuesday, and was completely shocked by things Des said in particular! Haslund, Croninger, Blum and Macker respectfully offered solid reasons for us to support their election, while the only two incumbents that even bothered to show up demonstrated lack of concern for not just the community they serve but for the facts. Even worse, Des several times angrily attacked the challengers, past administrators, the community, specific college programs, and even the truth. I’m glad we have the Indy to set the facts straight, and can hardly wait to see next week’s issue [October 14, 2010, which will have Independent’s endorsement in this race as well as cover story on it, by Ethan Stewart.]!—John Wiley


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