Opinion: LTCC should be a 4-year college

By Kindred Murillo

This year, Lake Tahoe Community College is celebrating its 40th year of serving the Lake Tahoe Basin and surrounding communities.

In my three years working at LTCC, it is clear to me that the college is here in this beautiful location because a group of dedicated people had a vision of higher education in Tahoe, and the determination to make sure it happened. We are now at a crossroads due to changes in funding, community college priorities, and statutes. In order to respond to these challenges, the leadership of LTCC conducted a visioning of what higher education and specifically LTCC should look like by the year 2020 and beyond.

Kindred Murillo

Kindred Murillo

As we get closer to unveiling this vision, we continue to develop LTCC’s vital role in the sustainability of the entire Tahoe community.

The faculty, staff, and leadership of the college has been working diligently to not only meet the state mandates, but to focus on the needs and interests of our community. We have opened the college to organizations that provide our community with recreational, cultural, and educational events, as well as serve our community needs. We have developed partnerships and coalitions to leverage the limited funding of public agencies to provide better services to our students and community. State Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, and his team have been working with the leadership of LTCC to reinstate the Good Neighbor Policy, which recognizes the entire South Lake Tahoe area as one community, regardless of state borders. The college leadership has been rightsizing the organization to reflect our change in student enrollments, funding, programs, and learning modalities.

Based on the hard work of many at the state level, we now have an opportunity to consider offering baccalaureate degrees at LTCC, thanks to Senate Bill 850. SB850 is moving through the state legislature and will come up for a hearing on April 23. I firmly believe this is one of the most important pieces of legislation in recent years to help students access and attain quality four-year degrees at an affordable price. Those of us at LTCC hope our community will support the efforts of this bill, which would provide affordable higher education in rural communities.

If you are interested in supporting state Sen. Marty Block’s, D-San Diego, efforts to ensure student access to affordable and quality baccalaureate degrees, please contact my office at 530.544.4660, ext. 210 for further information.

Kindred Murillo is superintendent-president of Lake Tahoe Community College.

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Comments (5)
  1. CYNIC says - Posted: April 1, 2014

    Wow- again our shrinking community college is looking for the brass ring.

    It is obvious that LTCC is in trouble. The leaders have have done many good things to showcase the institution, but issues outside their control continue to force enrollment to near record lows mand our community continues to shrink. It is very difficul to earn a decent living in Tahoe. LTCC is on record as having instructor and staff wages among the lowest in California. Admin wages are a different thing altogether.

    “Rightsizing” in the recent past at LTCC has involved cutting classes, lay-offs, testing existing faculty for minimum qualifications so they can legally teach classes outside their fields. Desperation plays.

    My children have both attendedd LTCC as transfer students (in better times) and I support the school, but if a community cannot support a 2 year school, and the community is shrinking, due to the proliferation of second homes and retiree people how can it be considered for the next step upward?
    I have read the Bill which may be found at the following address (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/13-14/bill/sen/sb_0801-0850/sb_850_bill_20140109_introduced.html)

    Given the Bill’s qualifications to be considered, I do not see South Lake Tahoe as a candidate for this program.

    The bill describes a pilot program and a limited number of 4 year degrees in subjects which would benefit the community workforce. In Tahoe, this is a joke.

    Are they going to offer 4 year degrees in marketing, tourism, bartending, housekeeping, ski lift loading, snow grooming? Grocery checking, hardware store operations, auto mechanics??
    There are few remotely good paying steady jobs up here outside of public service like Barton, STPUD and a herd of Federal and State agencies (many of whose jobs are seasonal)…and NO GROWTH. If the agencies were not here, the town would be nearly abandoned.

    Personally, I think LTCC should concentrate on doing a better job (which it once did) of grooming students for transfer to 4 year colleges where an earned degree means something.

    I do not think, in this day of huge increases in education costs that further experimentation makes sense. It would be interesting if the opinion piece explained how a 4 year degree under this experimantal program would cost less than a degree, say, from Sacramento State.

    It is lost on me why LTCC needs to be considered as a trial 4 year school.

    Except possibly to add a few pages to the resumes of administrators so they can get a big raise at their next career move, or get a big raise now to bolster their retirement if they are cutting out soon.

    I do not see this proposal benefitting the community at large, even if it was chosen to be part of the trial.

  2. reloman says - Posted: April 1, 2014

    CYNIC, I think the goal here is to increase attendance with becoming a 4 year college. The increase would come from local students but rather from students from other areas where the classes are impacted and they cant get the classes they need to graduate. Kind of like cal State Schools in San Luis Obispo, or Santa Cruz. If they are able to get the Good Neighbor Policy reinstated that will also help enrollment, I would imagine that help push the enrollement numbers down. The issue with less classes is not just a local one but rather statewide with the budget cuts the entire system had to endure. Schools with overcapasity enrollment still had to cut classes.

  3. Louis says - Posted: April 2, 2014

    Ms. Murillo, I am sorry but you did not pose a persuasive case for your point.

    In short you could have made assurances that community needs would still be met, and used this forum to assuage concerns. Instead you fed us a bunch of what I shall term are lofty goals.

    What you posed was a possible way to increase enrollment by adding bachelors degrees. What you did not create was a reason for the community to support such a change.

    Fact, as most people know, the process for applying to a California State University (CSU) is much higher than applying to a California Community College (CCC).

    You could have given assurances that the community would still have access to the community college. Instead that is now a mystery.

    Fact, costs for classes at the CSU level are much higher than the CCC level.

    You could have talked about pricing for locals to take a class but didn’t.

    I am sure there are more issues, you could have addressed them but didn’t. Instead you made a case for what would be good for LTCC’s administration not the impact for the community, which is what the college was originally built and purposed for.

    I would invite you to address community use issues in a future non-opinion piece. Such a article would address enrollment, class availability, class sizes, priority for classes, cost structure, housing, environmental impacts, security, facility availability, as well enumerate goals for lower division classes that would meet local needs.

    In short is the goal here to move the school forward to serve California on the whole transforming into a full University or to serve the Lake Tahoe Community and its special needs.

  4. Jonathan Moore says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    I think if LTCC is going to offer baccalaureate degrees it should consider Business Administration, Health Care Administration and Government Services Administration. These 3 individual degrees all fall under the same umbrella and are likely to provide steady employment in the future. just my 2 cents. Thanks.

  5. LCab says - Posted: April 22, 2014

    As an LTCC student and a community member, how could I offer my support?