Parenting workshops could lose funding if state budget passes

Erick Pirayesh, News Editor

The Parent-Child Workshops, which help student-parents learn basic childcare skills, might no longer be funded by City College if the proposed 2013-14 state budget is passed.

A total of 80 percent of the workshop directors’ salaries are paid for by City College. According to the Human Resources department,  workshop directors make the following annual salaries, without benefits and retirement contributions: Katherine Blackburn, (San Marcos), $79,668; Yolanda Garcia, (Starr King) $83,668; Sunny Crandell, who works 80 percent of full-time, (The Oaks) $64,134.40; Ellen Stoddard, (Lou Grant) $79,668.

If the state budget as currently proposed passes this July, the college can no longer support these workshops financially, said Dr. Lori Gaskin, superintendent-president.  Students would be required to pay the full cost of instruction, about $211 per unit.

“We’re seeing a message coming from the administration at the state level. This is not SBCC; this is the state,” Gaskin said Tuesday, March 5, at the College Planning Council meeting. “The college’s plan of action right now is to wait and see.”

Representatives from the Parent-Child Workshops did not attend the meeting. Officially the workshops are a part of the college’s Adult Education program, most of which has been reorganized into the new Center For Lifelong Learning and must be financially self-sustainable.

Gaskin said that if the budget passes, City College  would have to find a way to continue the workshops without college funding until a permanent solution is found. She added that she is doubtful that many parents would be willing to stay enrolled in the workshops and pay the new higher fees.

Some council members said they would hate to see the workshops weakened  if the state does indeed  retract funding.

“Hopefully it won’t happen,” said English instructor Kim Monda.

Any decision to change fees and funding of the workshops would have to be made by the full Board of Trustees. Gaskin’s comments were informational only; she has not made a formal recommendation.

The four workshops also act as daycare centers and are known as The Oaks, Starr King, San Marcos (all located in Santa Barbara) and Lou Grant, located in Carpenteria. The directors’ responsibilities include teaching the parenting workshop at night and watching the children during the day, as well as a number of administrative duties to keep the workshops running.

This isn’t the first time the proposed cutting of the workshops has created controversy. Former City College Superintendent-President Dr. Andreea Serban resigned in 2011 in part because of community backlash against her request to stop funding the directors’ salaries.

The College Planning Council next meets Tuesday, March 19.

To see the Adult Education reorganization chart click here.

– An earlier version of this story misrepresented the directors’ salaries. It has since been corrected at 1 p.m.