More work to be done despite Prop 30 passing

Patricia Rocha, Editor in Chief

Now that Proposition 30 has passed and a $5.2 million cut in budget has shrunk down to $1.2 million, Bakersfield College can move forward on planning for the future.

Interim President Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg discussed the feeling of relief, tempered with the realization that California’s economic problems are not yet over, and there is still a projected $1.2 million left to cut in the BC budget.

“We were preparing for the worst case scenario, $5.2 million,” she said. “For example, we prepared by restricting some courses, and we know that we’ll be able to un-restrict some of those courses now that Proposition 30 has passed.”

Gomez-Heitzeberg said the school will continue to have a keen eye on what is available.

“Maybe we’re not cutting $5.2 million, but can we continue to offer everything we have now? I don’t think so,” she said. “It is not realistic to believe that we’re going to be able to offer every course in our catalog and every degree in our catalog given the $1.2 million that we know we have to cut.

“That doesn’t even account for cost increases in the next seven years, so [I feel a] guarded happiness, realizing we just have to roll up our sleeves and really start working hard now.”

The future of classes depends on many factors, and there is currently a Program Viability Taskforce in place, which determines what programs need to be strengthened, suspended or eliminated.

“This is not a time when we can afford to schedule low-enrolled classes,” she said. “We have a contractual obligation to make sure that all of our current full-time faculty have a full load, which varies on department and department depending on what they teach.

“If you were a history professor, it would be the equivalent of five, 3-unit classes with an average of 35-40 students.

“That’s our first commitment, to make sure all of our full-time faculty have a teaching load. Then in terms of what they’re assigned, we want to assign them the courses that are required, or that can serve as many students as we possibly can.”

She added that classes that students need would try to be scheduled in a sequential way so that students aren’t placed at a disadvantage when enrolling.