Glendale Community College officials say that when fall registration begins Monday they will accept students from the city of Los Angeles, despite an accusation by a Los Angeles community college official that they are breaking the law.
Kenneth Washington, vice chancellor of the Los Angeles district, said Glendale College is no longer allowed to accept students from Northeast Los Angeles because an agreement, in effect from 1971 to 1982, no longer applies. Glendale officials were notified of this last August, he said.
"It is my belief that, since the fall of 1984, Glendale has not been in conformity with the law," Washington said.
3,400 Students Affected
Washington and John Davitt, acting college president and superintendent of the Glendale Community College District, began negotiations last week over the fate of about 3,400 Los Angeles students who are expected to enroll at Glendale College.
Washington said residents of Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Silver Lake and Glassell Park make up nearly one-third of the student body at Glendale College.
"Glendale for years has claimed that students from Eagle Rock and Highland Park belong to them," Washington said. "But those neighborhoods are in our district."
Except when there is an interdistrict agreement, state law prevents residents from enrolling in community colleges outside their district's limits. However, it is not clear how the residency requirement can be enforced, Washington said.
"There are no direct penalties written into the law, so what the remedy is, I'm not sure," he said.
In the past year, the Los Angeles district has formed interdistrict enrollment agreements with six of seven adjacent college districts, but no agreement has been reached with Glendale.
A proposal by the Glendale Community College board that would have allowed about 1,400 Los Angeles students to attend the Glendale campus was rejected by the Los Angeles district in January.
"Glendale was the only holdout because they insisted that those communities were theirs," Washington said. "We have been and will continue to consider their point of view. But, of those neighborhoods coming to Glendale, we simply cannot afford the exodus. . . . If we permit the students to attend with no restraint, we are, in effect, giving up the urban schools."
Davitt said he hopes to reach an agreement this month. He had no comment on the law-breaking charge.
Previously, the Los Angeles district, in an effort to lower the administrative costs of processing transfer requests, allowed Los Angeles-area students to enroll at any community college they wished.
However, the policy backfired, resulting in a 30% drop in enrollment in the nine-campus district in the last three years while enrollment at Glendale College remained steady at about 11,000.
If no agreement is reached between the neighboring community college districts, Glendale College could lose more than $2 million in state funding over the next two years because of the drop in enrollment, officials estimate. College districts receive money from the state based on enrollment.
"Both of us want to reach an agreement," Davitt said. "Both of us want to stabilize the enrollment picture. From our point of view, we are not trying to drain Los Angeles of its students. They have been a cooperative neighbor. From my perspective, Los Angeles does not want to harm us. But they are obviously concerned about enrollment losses."
Los Angeles community college officials estimate that they lost about $5 million in state funds this year because of the transfer of students to community colleges outside the district. Last fall, 3,789 Los Angeles residents attended Glendale College and 586 Glendale residents attended schools in Los Angeles, said Norman Schneider, director of communication services for the Los Angeles district.
Regardless of the outcome of the negotiations, Los Angeles students already attending Glendale College will probably not be affected, he said.
"We have been very much in favor of an agreement similar to the ones we have with other districts that allow all current students to keep attending Glendale College until they have finished their college career," Schneider said. "But we believe that any new students should be restricted from attending that school if they are taking more than six units. We think that is fair and equitable."
Opposition to Legislation
Former Glendale College President H. Rex Craig, who died Aug. 3, said in a January interview that the college would continue to accept Los Angeles students pending state legislation repealing community college residency restrictions. A bill sponsored by state Sen. Robert G. Beverly (R-Manhattan Beach) was stalled in the Assembly Education Committee this month in the face of persistent opposition from the Los Angeles Community College District.
Los Angeles district officials notified Glendale College by letter in May to stop recruiting Los Angeles high school students.
Audrey Smith, college counselor at Marshall High School in Silver Lake, said some students elect to attend Glendale College rather than Los Angeles City College because Glendale has a better academic reputation.
"There's a feeling among students that Glendale is a better school because it has a better rate of transfer to four-year colleges," Smith said.
In a survey of 384 Los Angeles residents attending Glendale College last spring, more than 85% of the respondents said the quality of teachers and classes was the most important reason for attending the school.