Due to stubborn financial problems and dropping enrollment, Pierce College has cut more than 10% of its fall curriculum, the school's president said Tuesday.
"We have to bring the budget into line," said Pierce President Mary Lee. "We can't continue sliding into a hole."
About 200 courses have been dropped from the 1,800 offered last fall, Lee said, capping a two-year loss of about 20% of the classes at Pierce.
The shrinking curriculum mirrors a decline in the Pierce student body, which dwindled from about 20,000 to about 15,000 during the last decade and fell sharply during the last four years. Pierce gets funding from the state based on the number of students it serves.
The cuts also come in the face of a budget shortfall of about $1 million this fiscal year.
In an attempt to rebuild the student body, Pierce administrators are planning to send letters within the next several weeks to recent graduates of high schools in the West Valley, encouraging them to attend Pierce.
The school also plans to send Valley residents about 200,000 copies of a Pierce promotion that will be inserted into an issue of The Times later this month--another tactic Lee used successfully at Valley College, where she spent 10 years as top administrator. A similar, 12-page promotion was sent out with newspapers in May.
So far, however, the tactics have failed to stop the Pierce slide. As of June 23, enrollment was down 15% from the same period last year.
"We're trying to stop a four-year downward trend, so it takes some time," Lee said.