Local News

Apr 30, 2010 11:14 AM by Danielle Lerner

State education leaders say innovation and reform will help community colleges

California's budget battle was a hot topic at Cuesta College.

The school hosted a Chancellor's Forum Thursday, to discuss some of the issues facing the state's community colleges.

Chancellor of California Community Colleges Jack Scott and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell spoke at the event.

Two of the state's top education leaders met with members of the public Thursday, to identify problems and share solutions.

On a local level, Dr. Jack Scott says community colleges need to find innovative ways to get more resources.

"Now when the tax money is insufficient, perhaps businesses can step up to the plate and provide us with equipment that we need, with computers we need," said Scott.

On a state level Jack O'Connell is calling for an overhaul of the entire education system.

One that builds upon what works, and fixes, or eliminates what does not.

"We need to make a great investment in education and continue to improve and reform our educational delivery system," said O'Connell.

Budget cuts have had some unwelcome consequences for students at Cuesta, the college was recently forced to cut nearly all of its summer courses.

"I actually have to move back home to take summer classes, I'm from the Sacramento area," said Megan Kincaid, a Cuesta first-year student. "We got a lottery to get picked in the class and we didn't get picked, so it's just frustrating."

Still state leaders are optimistic, as schools across California try and make the best of a tough situation.

"I know we'll do our job," said Scott. "It's just that I think if we had more resources we could do even a better job."

One of the other solutions discussed Thursday involves creating a standard transfer program for all state community colleges.

It would cut the number of units needed when transferring to a four-year school, which could save time and money.

There are 112 community colleges in California.

Together they serve 2.9 million students every year.

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