College unexpectedly adds classes

By Ricky Soltero
City Times

With the ongoing dispute over how to fill the budget gap and the several budgets cuts that have hit San Diego City College over the last two years, the college unexpectedly added about 287 extra units this semester.

For the last two years, classes would fill quickly and many students looking forward to transferring or graduate had to wait longer to take required courses.

“First semester it seemed hard,” said Michael Robles, a City College student. “Everything seemed full even after my counselor appointment. But everything has gotten a lot easier (this semester).”

A local news outlet recently reported that the San Diego Community College District had cut approximately $10 million in the past two years, but this year it was estimated that 1,150 additional classes despite the budget reduction.

“The stimulus for the increase, I believe, is largely due to an unprecedented students demand that has resulted in over 98 percent of all available class seats (being) occupied.” City College President Terrence Burgess said.

City College Vice President of Instruction Mary Benard said the number of sections increased by 25 percent compared to fall of 2009. Classes were 90 percent full as of Aug. 21 and there are 6,196 students on waitlists for classes.

“We have been experiencing extraordinary demand since the financial meltdown in 2008. We believe the high unemployment, the loss of jobs, and reduction in capacity at the universities are all contributing to increased enrollment,” Vice Chancellor Lynn Neault said.

There is also a state law requiring 50 percent of budget expenditure to be implemented for instructional classroom categories.

“This fall, a decision was made to ensure compliance with the law and to meet some of the extraordinary demand,” Neault said.

Although Burgess assures that every year the district has been compliant with this rule in the past.

“We are adding classes district wide is to assure that we are not required to further cut student support programs, such as library services, and to maintain a 50-50 balance between instructional and non-instructional expenditures.”

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College unexpectedly adds classes