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SRJC slashes summer classes, ends older-adult program

  • Mark Nakamura of Santa Rosa participates in a hip hop dance class in the Physical Education program at Tauzer Gymnasium, Tuesday April 12, 2011 at Santa Rosa Junior College. During the coming summer semester, budget cuts may be a victim of the budget ax. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

Santa Rosa Junior College should be in the midst of the first wave of summer school registration.

Instead, the school put the process on pause last week while administrators scrambled to slash the number of courses available and lay off teachers.

The new schedule, expected to be completed t Wednesday<NO>, will reduce classroom faculty by 16 percent from last summer, thinning the number of classes by a similar amount. It's the latest in a series of budget cuts at the school.

"The fat was cut a long time ago," said Doug Roberts, vice president of business services. "Now we're cutting bone."

The school reacted after hearing increasingly bleak news out of Sacramento. SRJC officials had hoped to escape the coming budget year with a $5 million reduction in its state funding, and was planning on a 10 percent cut to summer faculty.

But then it became clear that Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to seek a special June election to extend current tax rates was not going to happen so the school began bracing for a $12 million cut, Roberts said.

Reducing the number of full-time equivalent faculty by 16 percent in the summer and by 11.5 percent in the fall and spring should save the school about $3.3 million, Roberts said.

But some students worry it could also have a bruising impact on them. Travis Hayes, a SRJC football player, said when he arrived in spring 2008, students seemed able to get whatever class they wanted.

This past January, by contrast, one of his classes in political science began with an overflow of 50 people, many sitting on the floor hoping to be added by the teacher. On Monday, that teacher warned students to be vigilant about signing up quickly for next year's classes or risk losing out altogether.

"It's crazy how times have changed," said Hayes, who is transferring this fall. "I'm lucky, I'm leaving now instead of in a year."


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