Governing Board President
Friends of Southwestern College,
By now you have undoubtedly heard the news: the probationary status hanging over our accreditation has been lifted!
Many long hours of work this year by faculty, students, staff and administration, working together with a new sense of teamwork and incredible dedication, achieved what some doubted was possible. On behalf of the Board and the entire community, thank you to each person who worked extra hours and gave of their talent and time to make this happen.
Even when we were put on probation, the accreditation commission noted the excellent quality of faculty and staff at Southwestern College. The new spirit of positive teamwork clearly made an impression on the commission this year. Everybody who contributed to this result deserves the lasting gratitude of every student and every citizen in the South Bay.
Our first summer session began on Monday, June 6 with packed classrooms and long waiting lists – a testament to the quality of our faculty, classes and programs and the unfortunate budget situation affecting our State. Southwestern College is the only local college offering a comprehensive summer session. We are honoring our plan to provide summer courses for students who need them to graduate and meet our full-time student enrollment targets and capture state funding. In these lean budget times, we must capture as much State funding as we can.
For the first time in many years, undoubtedly spurred by the unwillingness of Governor Jerry Brown and Controller John Chiang to accept “business as usual,” the Legislature passed a budget before the start of the new fiscal year. Unfortunately, because the budget is contingent on new revenues from an uncertain economic recovery, there are some unpleasant contingencies built in, such as a possible increase in community college fees to $46 per unit next Spring (an increase to $36 per unit for Fall 2011 had already been mandated). At least we now have a clearer idea what to expect from the State in the coming year.
In the meantime, we adopted the College District’s tentative budget for fiscal year 2011–12. Led by our constituent-based Budget Committee, this budget includes many smart and student-focused provisions: a 5.8 percent savings in non-personnel items and $170,000 increase in categorical spending (such as Disability Support Services). We are proud of the collegial and consultative hard work that created this budget and look forward to it continuing. Tough choices will need to be made among a variety of unattractive options, but we have learned we make better choices with the collaboration of faculty, students, staff and administration.
Speaking of tough choices, we are deeply sad that many of Southwestern College’s brightest and longest-serving employees have retired. The College offered a Supplemental Early Retirement Program to reduce expenditures and honor employees for their contributions – 39 employees took advantage of it. You can learn more about them in this month’s GB News.
The reason Southwestern College has been successfully educating our community since 1961 is employees such as these, focused on our mission, helping students achieve their dreams. They will be missed but their contributions never forgotten. We wish them the very best in their future and thank them for their invaluable service.
Governing Board President