Santa Monica College Lets Go Of Winter Program

Monday, 10 Sep 2012, 5:26:00 AM

Brenton Garen

Santa Monica College has let go of its winter program, at least temporarily, following its Board of Trustees' unanimous vote Thursday to cease winter classes due to budget cuts.

SMC pioneered the winter intersession in California in 1992 offering a six-week session that made it possible for SMC to operate year-round and helped students accelerate their progress.

For the past 21 years, the size of the program has fluctuated to as high as more than 800 classes to last year’s 400 classes.

A second college adopted the plan in 1998, and, in 2000, California’s largest district, Los Angeles, began to adopt the calendar. Altogether, by recent times, about 35 or so of California’s 72 community college districts were offering winter classes, including most of the districts in the Los Angeles basin.

Now, SMC administrators say State revenue cuts of 12 percent since 2008-09, and with the risk of deep cuts ahead if the November ballot funding initiative fails, the program appears to have come to its end, at least temporarily, both at SMC and regionally.

The vote comes as SMC has just completed a year that used up nearly $9 million of its reserves and is prepared to adopt a current year budget that relies on using another $4 million in reserves.

While overall enrollments remain high at SMC (fall enrollment will be around 34,000 students), the College must consider how to deal with Proposition 30 not passing in November.

SMC President Dr. Chui L. Tsang remarked its concentration on Winter session cuts were similar to most colleges.

“This allows us to achieve some of the savings we know are needed this year to address our ongoing deficit,” Tsang said. “This will also position us better should Proposition 30 fail.”

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