Cuesta College makes list of programs that could be eliminated

A bird's-eye view of Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.
A bird's-eye view of Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.

Cuesta College officials have started a plan to reduce the number of programs they will offer to students — though the exact number of programs is dependent upon the outcome of the November election.

The community college on Thursday released a list of 29 programs — about 39 percent of all the programs offered at Cuesta — that will be ranked for possible elimination. The final decision on the cuts will be made in December.

Programs will be cut regardless of whether or not Gov. Jerry Brown’s temporary tax measure passes on Nov. 6, officials said. But the outcome of Proposition 30 will determine the scope of the reductions.

Cuesta College stands to lose about $2.85 million if Proposition 30 doesn’t pass. That’s in addition to the $3 million the college has already cut this fiscal year.

“After four years of continually cutting, we’re watering down everything,” college President Gil Stork said. “To maintain a core group of programs we have to reduce what we offer.”

Here are the 29 programs on the list: agriculture technology, culinary arts, real estate, interior design, physical science, counseling, student life and leadership, nursing assistant, fashion design and merchandising, construction technology, dance, geography, hospitality, library/information technology, computer applications/office administration, art-digital, music-audio technology, work experience-work force development, broadcast communications, drama, German, French, medical assisting, electronic and electrical technology, vocational ESL, emergency medical services, legal, computer and networking technology, and architecture.

Broadcast communications student Conner Stimson, 20, has one class left to take. “I hope they keep it so I can graduate,” he said.

While Stimson wants to pursue a career in filmmaking, he said many of his peers use the program to gain skills necessary for internships at local television and radio stations.

The college has 74 programs. The targeted programs were determined by the president’s cabinet, with input from the Office of Academic Affairs.

The College Council — a panel of top administrators, division chairs, faculty members, classified staff and a student representative — will make a recommendation to Stork by Nov. 13.

He’ll take a final recommendation to the Board of Trustees on Dec. 12. Some programs could be eliminated as early as the spring 2013 semester.

“Our goal is to minimize the number of programs affected by the economic crisis, and there are many factors yet to be determined — like the outcome of the Proposition 30 vote — that will shape our budget for the coming years and determine how deep the program cuts will need to be,” Stork said in a statement.