Cuesta College to cut most of its summer school classes

A majority of Cuesta College’s summer semester classes will be cut this year in response to the continuing economic downturn, administrators announced Tuesday.

The only classes to be held are those in emergency medical services, nursing and psychiatric technician training; as well as classes supporting San Luis Coastal Unified School District that are held at off-campus locations.

The college kept the technical courses because of a need in the community for those professional services and a planned, year-round track schedule for students to complete certifications, said Gil Stork, the college’s interim superintendent.

The move was made to balance the Cuesta budget after an elimination this year of federal stimulus funds that helped pay for summer school last year, and the projected 2010-2011 state budget, Cuesta officials said.

“In an effort to bring our hours of instruction in line with our funding and to negatively impact the fewest number of students, I am supporting the recommendation to reduce the scope of the 2010 summer session,” Stork said in a statement.

The local community college also experienced near-record enrollment numbers in 2009-2010, which pushed the college’s full-time equivalent student count above the state formulated funding cap, resulting in a funding shortfall for about 400 students.

Money from the college’s general fund made up that difference, which left less money to work with, officials say.

Meanwhile, students on campus Tuesday were disappointed by the announcement.

“I understand that there are financial issues involved, but students are here to get an education and it’s really difficult to rely on a school when it can’t provide us with that,” said Cuesta student Cassie LaMacchia-Meeks, 20.

Another student, Leesha Taylor, 18, said she’ll take classes at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria this summer and have to work out transferring prerequisites to get into math, science and English classes she plans to take at Cuesta.

Last year, Cuesta said, 3,395 students enrolled in classes during the summer, The number of students able to take classes this summer hasn’t yet been determined.

A full list of classes will be offered again during the fall semester, which will begin Aug. 16.

Tribune staff writer Amy Dempsey contributed to this report.