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Community News

2 Compete for LBCC Trustee

From Issue: Volume XXII - Number 6
3/21/2014


By Steve Propes

In a most competitive race, the Long Beach Community College (LBCC) Board Of Trustees will have a new member with the impending retirement of Dr. Tom Clark. Virginia Baxter, 67, joined LBCC in 1970 as a history professor, was assistant dean of student affairs from 1975 to 1983 and has been executive director of the Long Beach City College Foundation since 1990. Gregory Slaughter, 66, finished a law enforcement career and was mayor of South Gate and member of that city council. Moving to Lakewood, he became LBCC professor in Administration of Justice in 1994.

Issues include a two-tier tuition system, which translates to an over four fold cost to students taking for popular courses and the cut in over a half dozen vocational courses recommended by school administration and approved by the board in early 2012.

Slaughter opposes the two-tier tuition currently used in inter-sessions, those sessions that come between the regular winter and summer sessions. “Right now, regular tuition is $46 a unit.” The two-tier tuition is $225 a unit in nursing and several other classes, generally those needed to fulfill a vocational requirement. “Six classes went forward on the two tier program.”

About the two-tier system, Baxter said, “Let’s wait and see, not be in favor or against. I see myself as a problem solver. When it was proposed, I wrote letters to people I know in and outside the health field and asked them to contribute $270 to pay for the student’s class. Every person 50 or 60 who applied for the scholarship received a scholarship for the winter inter-session.” Baxter stated she intends to keep that higher tier scholarship in for the duration of the two-tier system.

Slaughter is very critical of cutting an array of vocational programs. “The mission of a community college is to provide transfer courses, vocational courses for those who wish to learn a career and for those who need retraining. It was like a meat cleaver [was taken]to the programs. We had a brand new aviation program, which was shipped to Orange Coast College after we built a brand new welding and aviation building.”

About these vocational cuts, which occurred in early 2013, Baxter said, “It costs three times more to educate a student in aviation than the state grants us. FAA certification is very costly. With four fulltime professors, enrollment never exceeded 19 in three years,” said Baxter.

“I really enjoy being a professor, working with young adults keeps me young,” said Slaughter. “It allows me to pass knowledge of several years to young people.”

Baxter said “I’ve never before run for office. I’ve devoted my entire adult life to LBCC, and I want to assure it’s on the same path it’s going now, we’re doing an excellent job.”

steve@longbeachcomber.com