To address its long-term financial health, Cuesta College is reducing the number of programs it offers to students.

On Oct. 3, San Luis Obispo County Community College District Board of Trustees, Cuesta’s parent board, approved a Long-Term Budget Reduction Plan for 2013-2017 as part of the effort to address the school’s fiscal stability. The plan contains two scenarios: one with Proposition 30 passing, and one with the Nov. 6 ballot measure failing.

Today, Cuesta’s College Council, a panel of top administrators, division chairs, faculty members, classified staff and a student representative, received a list of 29 programs to be ranked for possible elimination.

“As I have said many times over the last two-and-a-half years, because of the impact of shrinking budgets, we will not be the same college we were four years ago,” said Gil Stork, Cuesta College superintendent/president.

Through the participatory governance system, which calls for campus representation in the decision-making process, all parts of the college will have the opportunity to comment on the proposal, officials said.

“I encourage those affected to engage in the process to ensure that voices and perspectives are heard and considered,” said Stork, a 45-year veteran of the college who is guiding Cuesta through the greatest fiscal challenge in its near 50-year history.

“I also encourage respectful dialogue and the understanding that these are difficult decisions in response to budget necessities to safeguard our institution’s financial future and overall ability to continue serving our students and community.

“Our goal is to minimize the number of programs affected by the economic crisis, and there are many factors yet to be determined — like the outcome of the Proposition 30 vote — that will shape our budget for the coming years and determine how deep the program cuts will need to be,” Stork said.

Prop 30 is Gov. Jerry Brown’s temporary tax initiative that would provide much-needed revenue support to California school districts. It would increase sales tax by a quarter-cent for the next four years, and would raise income tax for Californians earning more than $250,000 per year for seven years.

The targeted programs were determined by the president’s cabinet, which is made up of Cuesta administrators, deans and executive directors, with input from the Office of Academic Affairs that provides leadership and coordination for all of the college’s instructional programs.

The College Council will make its recommendation to Stork by Nov. 13. He will ask the college’s Planning and Budget Committee to evaluate its five-year fiscal impact. The final recommendation will be taken by the president to the Board of Trustees on Dec. 12 for the official vote.

The list of programs includes: Agriculture Technology, Culinary Arts, Real Estate, Interior Design, Physical Science, Counseling, Student Life and Leadership, Nursing Assistant, Fashion Design & Merchandising, Construction Technology, Dance, Geography, Hospitality, Library/Information Technology, Computer Applications/Office Administration, Art- Digital, Music — Audio Technology, Work Experience — Workforce Development, Broadcast Communications, Drama, German, French, Medical Assisting, Electronic & Electrical Technology, Vocational ESL, Emergency Medical Services, Legal, Computer and Networking Technology, Architecture.

The college has 74 defined programs. Programs can amount to as few as two classes, officials said. Some affected programs and classes could be eliminated as early as the spring 2013 semester.

Jay Thompson
05) 546-3100, ext. 2636
Email: jay_thompson@cuesta.ed
Released Oct. 18, 2012