Trimming summer school saves fall and spring sessions

Megan Rose Bartell and Megan Rose Bartell

San Diego City College’s summer session of classes has been canceled to benefit students and faculty during the fall and spring semesters of the 2011-2012 school year.

“By eliminating summer classes as opposed to fall and spring, we hurt our City College students less,” President Terrence Burgess said.

“The enrollments that we typically get in summer are disproportionately university students that are coming back for the summer and picking up a class.”

According to Burgess, the San Diego Community College District is being forced by the state to minimize the student population by the equivalent of 5,500 full-time equivalent students. The state will no longer pay to support this amount of students starting July 1.

The 5,500 full-time equivalent students are equal to about 18,000 enrollment seats in classes.

Burgess said that the number of classes the district needed to eliminate to downsize by 18,000 enrollment seats was about the same as number classes previously offered in summer school.

“We felt that by not cutting fall and spring, more students would be able to enroll full time and therefore be able to preserve their financial aid,” Burgess said.

It’s not only students that are being affected, but professors as well.

Adjunct or part-time instructors are required to carry half of a full-time teaching load in order to maintain their health and welfare benefits from the district — but not during the summer.

According to Burgess, if the district had cut classes in the fall and spring, many of the adjunct instructors could have lost their health benefits.

“We’ve cut so much over the last four years that we are really down to the core program in the fall and the spring, and so we really didn’t feel that we could cut that more and not really hurt student’s progress towards graduation and transfer,” Burgess said.

Anne Krueger, communications specialist for the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, confirmed that her district is offering summer courses, including 113 sections at Grossmont and 44 sections at Cuyamaca.

“We had cut (summer session) in half last year, and we’re cutting it in half again this year,” Krueger said. “The numbers I’ve heard is that we’re going to have 6,000 seats, and we’re expecting 50,000 to apply for those seats.”

Krueger said the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District will be cutting 1,000 classes for the 2011-2012 school term.

Diana Riveros, an appplied mathematics major, is hoping to take classes at Grossmont Community College over the summer. She is facing trouble enrolling because her transcripts from City College won’t be completed until May 30.

“There’s like a five percent chance that I will be able to get the class I need,” Riveros said.

Mechanical engineering major Eliel Chavarin is hoping to take summer classes at Southwestern Community College, but he fears the classes will fill so quickly he will not be able to register.

“My whole schedule has flipped over because there is no summer school,” Chavarin said.