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Students may be caught in education limbo

College to schools: There may be no more room for high school kids
By: Don Chaddock, The Telegraph
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There may not be room for additional teenage students at Folsom Lake College if proposed high school budget cuts are enacted, according to college officials. The budget woes at Folsom Cordova Unified School District have forced the Board of Education to consider eliminating many electives for juniors and seniors at Folsom and Vista del Lago high schools. Their hope is that students can turn to the local college to satisfy some of those electives and better their chances at getting into a university. Sue Lorimer, vice president of instruction at Folsom Lake College, said the college’s classes aren’t a substitute for their normal high school work, and it’s much more challenging. “Our Advanced Education Program is just that, advanced education,” Lorimer said. “It’s for students who are in high school who are ready for college-level coursework.” She said that while she understands the budget issues at the high schools, adding more students to the college just isn’t a viable option. “We really value our Advanced Education Program and value our students from our feeder high schools,” Lorimer said. “We are sympathetic to their challenges, but I don’t think this will be the answer to their problem. “ She said there are steps that need to be taken in order to get high school students into the college. “There is an application process students have to go through and take an assessment test,” Lorimer said. “They would need permission from parents and a recommendation from a school counselor or administrator.” She said she’s concerned high school students who aren’t ready for college-level courses could be harmed by coming to college too early. “We want students who come here to have a good chance of succeeding,” Lorimer said. “The worst thing a student can do is come to the college and take a class and do poorly on it. That would be a permanent mark on their record.” She said students in high school aren’t allowed to go to the college to work on their “basic skills” because those classes should be in place at the high school level. “The other reason we want the school’s recommendation, is we want to make sure we aren’t taking away students from the high schools,” Lorimer said. She said the college is also facing its own budget problems. “We’re facing budget crises and all of that too,” she said. “Our first priority is to the students who are our true students. We are looking at transfers, career technical education and basic skills improvement.” She said that because of the timing of registration for the fall, high school students may be out of luck. “Time wise, because (of the) students we are supposed to be serving first, we let them register early,” Lorimer said. “We are cutting our own course sections by two percent this year.” Lorimer is also concerned there simply won’t be enough room to handle an influx of high school students. “Last fall we had a total of 360 enrollments for advanced education,” she said. “I would expect there would be far less room this year. … Rather than accommodate more, I think we could accommodate less.” Patrick Godwin, superintendent for the Folsom Cordova Unified School District, is waiting for the state to finish its own budget and is hopeful that negotiations with labor unions will allow them to restore some positions and programs. “We ask you to be patient while we work through the negotiation process,” Godwin said to parents and educators during a recent budget meeting. He said the budget they are currently working on is not the final and is dependent on decisions made by the state with their own budget stalemate. Don Chaddock may be reached at donc@goldcountrymedia.com.