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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

CPC plans to save remaining grant money in light of budget concerns

Employee Campus Climate survey reveals assessment of SBCC’s racial climate

The College Planning Council (CPC) emphasized preserving the $5 million fund leftover from the COVID Recovery Block Grant during their Tuesday meeting.

Originally allocated to spend on COVID-19 safety precautions, the remaining money can now be spent elsewhere, which poses a discussion to the CPC in regard to the highest priorities of expenditures.

While attendees continued to propose ideas of spending the fund on permitting more courses and increasing enrollment or investing in more online and hybrid resources for faculty and students, Superintendent President Dr. Erika Endrijonas favored saving the money for later use, referencing the overarching budget and funding issues that City College currently faces.

“I’m not inclined to spend much of it right now,” Endrijonas said. “I think we are going to be happy in a year, or two years, that we have money that we can spend on things we need, including classes.”

Endrijonas also discussed the distinction between long-term concerns versus immediate ones, to which Academic Senate President Kim Monda proposed setting aside a small portion of the fund for prompt use and saving the rest. Academic Senator Jamie Campbell also brought forth the idea of separating the Grant into individual use and institutional use, where the former would serve specific course, resource, and instructional needs, and the latter would be spent on broader demands, such as opening standby classes, that would serve a larger group of students.

Endrijonas acknowledged the need for City College to invest in more courses, citing her past work experience at Oxnard College, where she faced similar issues. 

“I went to Oxnard College in 2009, and that college had no money,” Endrijonas said. “And I will tell you, $100,000 allowed us to add 20 sections to the schedule.”

Endrijonas clarified that while permitting classes at City College costs more than it did at Oxnard, her intended point was to illustrate the impact that spending even a small portion of the Grant could make.

Assistant Superintendent Paloma Arnold clarified that there is no urgency to spend the Grant money before the state takes it because there has been no indication that the state would do so and because if they did, the amount of money spent would not factor into the decision to remove the funding.

“If we have to give the money back, we have to give the money back regardless of whether or not it’s spent,” Arnold said.

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Additional matters addressed in the meeting included reviewing the Employee Campus Climate Survey that was administered to all faculty and staff in Spring 2023 with the purpose of assessing the campus’ racial climate. According to the Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Assessment, Research, and Planning (IARP), Dr. Keller Magenau, City College scored “very low” in workplace equity and institutional commitment.

“The results really indicate that staff of color on this campus have a very different experience of Santa Barbara City College than white staff,” Magenau said.

She suggested that the survey findings should be brought back for discussion in the following CPC meeting and emphasized the importance of posing more in-depth questions to survey respondents before sharing the results across campus and attempting to take further action.

“There is ample opportunity for improvement,” Magenau said.

The CPC will reconvene on Tuesday, March 5.

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