When former SBCC president Andreea Serban threatened to reconfigure the Parent Child Workshops administered by the Continuing Education division, she incurred intense blowback that contributed to much of the recent turnover at SBCC — including that of her own job.
It was a tactical mistake that current President Lori Gaskin knew to avoid. Although most noncredit enrichment courses are being moved to the new self-sustaining, fee-based Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL), the workshops were to be the one exception that would continue to be subsidized by the state. Now, however, the state might strip funds for the workshops, which function as preschools during the day and parenting classes at night.
Gaskin mentioned that painful fact at Tuesday’s College Planning Council meeting. “My recommendation has always been to retain the Parent Child Workshops in our noncredit program,” Gaskin told The Santa Barbara Independent. “The governor came out in mid-January [with his proposed budget], and it broadsided me,” she said.
While the state has asked its community colleges to focus on “core instructional areas” the past few years, for the first time there is a proposal that actually removes funding for courses that are not “vocational education, English as a Second Language, elementary and secondary education, and citizenship,” reads the governor’s budget summary. “If community colleges offer non-mission courses, students will be required to pay the full cost of instruction,” it says.
That language may not survive when an actual budget is passed, but the college needs to be prepared for the worst. If the courses are moved to the CLL, their full cost would need to be covered by a fee, and Gaskin is not sure many parents could afford it.
There are four workshops throughout South Coast: San Marcos, Starr King, The Oaks, and Lou Grant. The SBCC student newspaper, The Channels, reported that the directors of each respectively make $79,666; $83,668; $64,134.40; and $79,668.
“We have to take a wait and see,” said Gaskin.