Class offerings are expanding at Santa Rosa Junior College, a marked contrast to the past three years when 2,865 classes fell victim to state budget cuts.
Just over 500 classes will be restored in the coming academic year, a process that started this summer, said Mary Kay Rudolph, SRJC's vice president of academic affairs.
Students said they already are seeing a difference.
“My plan to move into the next chapter of my life has been working out really well and it's all because I was able to get into the classes I need,” said Mayra Lozano, 27, of Sonoma, a pre-nursing student.
The boost in classes is driven by funds from Proposition 30, the 2012 ballot measure that is delivering more than $200 million a year into the state's community college system.
It will cost the college about $2.5 million to bring back the classes, said Doug Roberts, SRJC's vice president of business services.
Lozano said she has been able to get into several science classes she needed to fulfill her nursing prerequisites. This year, she said, “It didn't become a mountain I had to climb trying to get into classes.”
Still, the return of the classes will fill just 20 percent of the hole that was dug as the college shed sections in core subjects such as mathematics and English and, to an even greater degree, community enrichment courses from dance to painting.
Classes designed for older adults — 34 are planned for the fall — are a pale shadow of what they were three years ago, when there were 315. Also, non-credit, community classes, while restored to some measure, are no longer free.
“It's probably not going to ever be back where it was,” said Rudolph.
At SRJC's Petaluma campus, Vice President Jane Saldaña-Talley said the choice of what classes to restore was made carefully, with an eye toward getting students into position to graduate or transfer to four-year colleges.