Budget deflates summer school schedule

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Summer school, thought to be dead in April, may have been upgraded to life support when Southwestern College officials learned they may have underestimated fall and spring enrollment. In an effort to meet its enrollment obligations, SWC may have to cancel plans to cancel summer school classes on the main campus.

Brian Ebalo, admissions and records technician, said plans with summer courses on the main campus are in flux.

“Students can find all Summer 2012 course offerings on our website,” he said. “The lobby is staffed to assist all students with any inquiries they may have.”

A $2.4 million state funding cut threatened all summer school classes on the Chula Vista campus. Classes are scheduled at the Higher Education centers in National City, Otay Mesa and San Ysidro. Hosting the summer classes in the satellite campuses could eventually help the facilities obtain “center status” in the eyes of the state and qualify the district for extra funding. So far the plan has not worked, even though major programs like dental hygiene, nursing and the police academy have been relocated to satellites over the years. Currently 10 courses are scheduled for the main campus, including one culinary arts course and nine exercise science courses for the college’s athletic teams.

ASO Senator Melody Sycks said summer school cutbacks and the relocation of classes to far away centers is harmful to students.

“Students who just needed one class to transfer are very concerned about what is happening,” she said, especially for students who rely on public transportation.

Some students live closer to Southwestern College than the satellites, making transportation difficult, she said.

Jackie Saliba, 18, a psychology major, said she will not travel to the satellite campuses due to the expense.

“HECs are far, “ said Saliba. “If what I need is not offered in Chula Vista, then I will go online.”

Melanie Durkin, fitness specialist program coordinator at the School of Health, Exercise Science and Athletics, reiterated the importance of summer school.

“Students are more motivated in the summer, and cutting classes slows down the progress of acquiring enough units to transfer,” she said. “As a college we want to create opportunities for students, but with less sections we end up with larger classes and it is not possible for everyone to get in.”

Selenne Guzman, 22, a biology major, said transfer classes are important to her.

“I will go wherever they are offering classes and I am considering going to the HECs if what I need is not available at SWC,” said Guzman.

Ulises Patino, 19, a civil engineering major, said he is considering going to the San Ysidro HEC since he lives close by.

“I want to get an Associate’s degree in civil engineering,” he said. “I need to go to summer school in order to graduate soon.”

Durkin said she sees the current situation with a positive attitude, but also a dash of fatalism.

“I have worked here for 12 years and a lot of things happen so I have learned to sit back and hope for the best,” she said.

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