Proposed reorder of Continuing Education could lead to lost jobs

Proposed+reorder+of+Continuing+Education+could+lead+to+lost+jobs

Erick Pirayesh, Associate Editor

Because of the reorganization of the Continuing Education program at City College, 16 full-time positions will be eliminated, Superintendent-President Dr. Lori Gaskin announced at the Sept. 12 Academic Senate meeting.

The senate approved the proposed reorganization, which calls for discontinuing eight administrators and eight staff members.

Gaskin is proposing to restructure the long-running program to create a Center for Life Long Learning. The center would be self-sustaining organization associated with the college that would offer fee-based courses that were previously free under the Continuing Education program. The proposal will be presented to the Board of Trustees Thursday, Sept. 13.

“Continuing Education has a long and rich tradition at Santa Barbara City College. I understand that,” Gaskin said. “When the state can’t give you enough money, you have to make those tough calls.”

The new center will be run by an executive director, along with three other new positions, who will be hired by the college. A total of $900,000 in excess material fees collected by Continuing Education over the years will be used to pay salaries for the new hires, until the center starts supporting itself, said Dr. Jack Friedlander, executive vice president of educational programs.

The college hopes to rehire seven of the staffers to lose their positions within the next year, and have already reassigned one.

Gaskin was adamant in her support for the reorganization of the program that serves nearly 20,000 students annually.

“My unwavering commitment is to those students who have never had a higher education,” she said. “I can’t support this organization supporting non-credit older adult courses while turning away students at your door.”

The proposed restructuring will split the program in two, with courses such as ESL, basic skills, and GED instruction being absorbed into the credit portion of the college. The classes will still be offered for free.

All other Continuing Education courses not deemed critical to transfer and vocational education will be offered at the Center for Life Long Learning and can be offered only if they are fiscally self-sustainable. Course fees will be established by the size of the class and hours of instruction.

Friedlander called the proposed reorganization the “most significant change we have ever made here.”

The board will vote on the proposal at its Sept. 27 meeting.

The Channels will be reporting live updates from Thursday’s Sept. 13 meeting as the story continues to develop.