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Winter Classes Restored at Santa Monica College

College officials say private donors might step up to cover the costs of the winter session. The college still faces millions in red ink this fiscal year.

About 250 winter courses at Santa Monica College eliminated earlier this year under a budget with a $4 million deficit are being restored amid an "improving economic outlook," college officials said Tuesday.

The move was made in spite of the deficit and will cost the college about an additional $1.5 million, according to Don Girard, Senior Director of Government Relations.

Officials said in their recent outreach to private donors a number "indicated enthusiasm for the restoration effort."

More than 10,000 students are expected to take advantage of the restored intersession. During the six-week term between the fall and spring semesters, students voluntarily enroll in a general education class.

"For the good of our students and for the good of our State, we are acting now to restore our winter class offerings," Superintendent Chui Tsang said in a statmenet. 

The decision to restore classes was "formulated in the spirit of the Proposition 30 election victory," officials said in the statement. The tax increase designed to bolster funding for education was passed by voters Nov. 6 and ensures the college does not have to make $8 million in cuts by the end of this year. 

"Prop. 30 does not provide us with new money, it provides us with stability," Girard said.

The college's current budget assumed the measure's passage and has a $4.02 million operating deficit. The red ink "didn’t disappear because of Prop. 30—we still have to address that," Girard said.

The size of Santa Monica College's intersessions have ebbed and flowed since the program launched in 1992, officials have said, from a high of 800 classes to last year's 400. 

"So this is a great first step to getting back towards something that approaches normal," Girard.

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