By Javier Cabrera / Editor in Chief
By Javier Cabrera / Editor in Chief
The community of students and faculty at Riverside City College is taking notice of talks going around campus of remedial classes being cut to absorb RCC’s budget deficit.
Like many other community colleges around California, RCC has to cut from its budget to meet the demands of California’s reduction in higher education funding.
As previously reported by Viewpoints, Riverside Community College District has to cut $14.31 million in the 2012-2013 academic year, while $2.68 million will be cut at RCC by Cynthia Azari, president of the college.
In the past two years, RCC has cut 20 percent of its classes from every discipline.
“We are trimming back in some of the lower basic skills-it is still under review, but that is where we are leaning for the summer and the fall has not been determined,” Azari said. “But as a District we are moving in that direction.”
Azari said the District has data that shows students are not completing their courses when they start from a lower basic skill class like English 60A or 60B into the college level like English 1A and 1B.
“The data we have shows that very few students actually progress from (lower basic skills) into college level,” she said.
Azari said since the college has cut 20 percent of its offerings, the college’s student headcount is also down 20 percent, and RCC is not the only college doing the same action.
“Every higher education institution in the state has cut the number of enrollments-and that is a reality,” she said. “‘So where do you cut?’ You have to look at how we can help students be successful.”
Despite what community colleges’ mission is, Azari said it is not the same today.
“Traditionally community colleges have been all things to all people,” she said. “And in this day of age we can’t be.
Azari said the reason RCC has decided to cut remedial classes is because RCC is a college.
“As a District, we are trimming back on the basic skills on the courses where students haven’t been able to move into college level classes,” she said.
AjenÃ© Wilcoxson, associate professor of Business Administration, said the situation is not getting better because more RCC students need the lower basic skills classes.
“It is a fact-a large percentage of our students are in need of those courses,” he said. “The last research I saw-it said it is continued to go up in the last seven years; more and more students are in need of those classes to prepare for those transferable classes, so cutting those will be detrimental to a lot of students.”
During an open student forum at the cafeteria of RCC on March 15, Wilcoxson had the idea to let students stress their frustrations about the cuts around campus.
“We may have to implement something that happens during the summer that will be low cost or no cost where we can help students prepare themselves so when they take that assessment test they will do better,” he said.
Nick Bygon, student trustee of RCCD, said a program called Jump Start at RCC is very beneficial to students, who need to catch up to the college level courses.
“What every administrator has offered as a solution to the problem is to increase programs like Jump Start at all of three colleges,” Bygon said. “These programs help refresh students on the core classes needed to place higher on the placement test; the results of such programs are extraordinary, with students jumping around a year’s worth of coursework.”
Bygon said Azari has been in conversations with members of local school districts to offer more adult education to teach those basic skills.
“RCC is not simply going to categorically cut any classes, like basic skills, they are however, trying to develop programs and partnerships that will make student need for them diminish,” Bygon said.