She’s been at the community college for three years, and is on the verge of getting her degrees. She wants to graduate and leave the area to go on to greater things.
“I want to come back here and say I’m an IVC alumni,” she said. “I’m proud of it. I want to come back and for there to still be a school.”
Her concerns were what many expressed Wednesday evening: If nothing is done to cut down the college’s budget, there may not be a school next year.
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Students, staff and alumni asked the college’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday to make the tough decisions needed to keep IVC going into next year.
The school is facing a $4 million deficit in its $34 million budget and needs to make up that funding being lost through cuts at the state level. One of the proposals to make up a portion of that money and deal with the decreasing number of full-time equivalent students is to reorganize the administration of the school.
The board was given a report on the proposed reorganizations, to drop the number of deans in the academic services department down to four, but the item was for discussion only. The board discussed personnel issues in closed session, but any action taken wasn’t available by press time.
The meeting, which had been moved from the administration building to the College Center, was filled to the brim, with more than 140 people filling the room. Through an hour and a half of public comment, people spoke for and against the proposal to cut down the number of academic deans from the six the school had last year to four for next year.
A majority of those who spoke favored making the tough cuts.
Lisa Solomon, vice president of the full-time faculty association, asked the board to find the strength to make the changes needed. The issue of reorganization came down to money, she said. The campus is no longer growing, and the question needs to be asked whether the students benefit from the reorganization.
One of the biggest changes in the organization would be eliminating the dean positions, including Alfredo Cuellar, instructional dean of behavioral and social sciences. Some had asked to keep Dr. Cuellar’s position, including Luis Olmedo with Comite Civico del Valle. He read a letter asking the board not eliminate the positions without more thought being taken.
“Eliminating one dean position will not fix the budget,” he said.
He encouraged the board to make responsible, well-educated decisions based on research.
However, others say that plenty of work has gone into the proposal put before the board.
Krista Byrd was born and raised in the Imperial Valley, and now serves as the behavioral science department chair. She said that this has become a personal decision for the board, but it shouldn’t be. The group putting together the reorganization plans knows that this is dealing with people’s lives, but it should become personal.
She added that people have lost perspective as to what the college is really about.
“I’d like to remind you of one thing,” she told the board. “If this school shuts down, I have my degree. You can’t take that away from me. Who you’re going to be taking it away from are these people, the students.”
Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at email@example.com or 760-337-3441.