San Diego Community College District Chancellor Greg Smith, far left, works on his computer while Bernie Rhinerson, middle left, Cody Peterson, middle right, and Shana Hazan, far right, talk before the 12th annual meeting between SDCCD and SDUSD begins March 19, 2024. Photo by Keila Menjivar Zamora/City Times Media
San Diego Community College District Chancellor Greg Smith, far left, works on his computer while Bernie Rhinerson, middle left, Cody Peterson, middle right, and Shana Hazan, far right, talk before the 12th annual meeting between SDCCD and SDUSD begins March 19, 2024. Photo by Keila Menjivar Zamora/City Times Media

City College hosts 12th annual SDCCD, SDUSD joint meeting

The community college, K-12 school districts affirmed mutual goals to improve educational outcomes for students

The San Diego Community College District and San Diego Unified School District governing boards held their annual joint meeting on March 19.

The two districts discussed early college credit, the Promise Program, and legislative efforts such as Senate Bill 895 and Assembly Bill 2104 that would allow a pilot program of 15 community college districts statewide to offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. 

Both districts highlighted their mutual commitment to equity, belonging and supporting historically marginalized students. 

“If we’re not pressing ourselves to be better, then we are not going to meet the needs of our most marginalized students,” said Lamont Jackson, superintendent of SDUSD.

The joint meeting comes two weeks after SDUSD announced the cuts of more than 400 jobs including that of teachers, administrators, and others, according to the district’s 2023-2024 Second Interim Financial Report Presentation

The districts discussed joint legislative efforts SB 895 and AB 2104 which would allow a pilot program of 15 community college districts statewide to offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. 

According to SDCCD Chancellor Greg Smith, 75% of bachelor degrees in nursing awarded in California come from private institutions with an average cost of $150,000. 

“We wonder why there is a lack of diversity in health care and the implication that (has) for the quality of health care being delivered to different communities,” said Smith.

If City College could offer a baccalaureate degree in nursing, the SDCCD chancellor said, students would incur $10,000-$15,000 worth of expenses, with the potential for additional help from programs like the Promise Program.

Officials noted the opposition they received from California State Universities to offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing at community colleges, yet they don’t accept all students who qualify. 

“The Cal State system, first of all, seems to be taking this as … somehow protecting their turf, but it’s not their turf,” said SDUSD board member Richard Barrera, who represents District D. “They’re protecting the turf of these profited institutions that are sucking money out of our kids.”

SDCCD trustee Mary Graham suggested this issue needed to be looked at with a systemic lens in Sacramento while considering the respective purposes of UCs, CSUs, and community colleges and how they can work together to serve students. 

The districts also looked at data on high school students participating in Dual Enrollment and College and Career Access Pathways

Among the data presented to the governing boards was an 18% increase in high school student participation in Career Technical Education compared to the 2021-2022 academic school year. However, gaps persisted among Black, Latinx, and special education students. 

Similarly, there was a 4% increase in students participating in CCAP in comparison to the  2021-2022 school year.

While participation among Latinx students increased slightly, participation stayed the same among Black students, with Black and Latinx students lacking overall representation in CCAP programs. 

“Collectively, we serve about 200,000 San Diego residents every year … with an intentional focus in ensuring every member of our community experiences equity and belonging so they can thrive and succeed,” Smith said. “Working together we can enhance how well our respective institutions deliver on our mission.”

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