Faculty Meets To Discuss Low Enrollment Worries

El Vaquero Staff Writer

GCC President John Davitt sounded somber at a faculty meeting on March 2 in Kreider Hall as he declared that student enrollment for the Spring semester was a disappointment. “It wasn’t as great as we had hoped, especially since we added classes.” ?

Although 98 of the previously removed classes have been added back on to GCC’s schedule, student enrollment has not bounced back as expected. Enrollment has dropped by 2.6 percent since fall semester and 8.9 percent since last spring, according to GCC admissions records.

The dramatic decline in student enrollment is partially credited to the bad press that community colleges, GCC in particular, have been getting.

A story in the Los Angeles Times portrayed GCC as a decaying school with few opportunities that compensate for the ever-increasing fees students must pay.

Davitt believes many students have turned away from GCC due to this one-sided opinion of the press. The main concern at the meeting was however, that out of 71 school districts in California, Glendale is the fifth district from the bottom, financially. Recognizing the threat in these figures, GCC has lobbied for equity for a number of years.

The legislature has continuously agreed to give struggling school districts the money to fulfill their staggering financial needs but so far the former governor of California has always vetoed this decision. As a result, GCC and other financially unstable districts, like the Santa Monica district, have continued to suffer.?

Lawrence Serot, vice president of administrative services, said that with the passing of Propositions 57 and 58, $16 million will be awarded to community colleges in California next year. GCC will receive $1.2 million of that money.

“We have finally made an impression,” he said, regarding the decision. ?The problem community colleges are facing is that $16 million will only begin to settle their financial difficulties.
In reality, $200 million is needed to bring the districts at the bottom of the rank to the level of the districts at the top. The complete sum of this money will be paid in installments.

“$1.2 million will only help break us even,” Nancy Knight, vice president of college services, said.

Over the last two years, funding for matriculation has been cut by two-thirds. This has taken away from admissions, assessment, and counseling services that were previously offered to students, she said.
The health center has also been affected, suffering losses of $60,000. As a result, it has cut back on its services as well. The library has limited its operating hours, as have the Learning Center and the Writing Center. ?

The worst seems to have passed and, as Serot said, “we have done well for ourselves considering the circumstances.”