John Hogle has been in shock since learning that the library technology program at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills will be cut in June due to low enrollment.
Hogle, who teaches a database-search class, had to break the news to his 33 students. Many are enrolled in the two-year certification program that they will be unable to complete at Foothill.
"I am sad to say, I think the program is dead -- may it rest in peace," Hogle said. "I realize that the administration at Foothill, like that of all community colleges, is facing extremely difficult decisions in the face of Governor Davis' mid-year cuts of monies to community colleges."
With the state facing a $34.6 billion budget deficit, community colleges across the state have been feeling the impact of lay-offs and program cuts. That is no comfort to many of the students in the Library Technology program, who will need to find another way to earn their certificates.
"Maybe enrollment would have been better if they opened the classes to other students, not just those in the library technology program and promote it as a skill you need to have in doing your research," said student Jen Romanski. "I truly feel that the college had some inkling something was going to happen. What can be done to get the rest of us through the program?"
The closest library technology programs are at San Francisco City College, Diablo Valley College and in San Luis Obispo. The distance and time of day that these classes are taught will be obstacles for many of the students in Foothill's program, Romanski said.
Foothill's library technology program is taught at night, so most of the students can work full-time while earning their certificate.
Foothill student Allison McGill had heard about the library technology program and was hoping to make a career change.
"I drive limosines right now and can have 14 to 16 hour days, which is hard for me to do," McGill said. "I had heard about the program and felt like I had found my niche. I am good with people and I love books, and it's an environment I would like to be in. I feel like this opportunity has been yanked out from under us. I feel just devestated."
Many students hope that the college can find a way to fund the remaining classes so that the students currently enrolled could finish and earn their certificates.
Hogle has been working with Foothill's administration to find alternative funding through underwriting grants for the second-year classes, as well as finding money to put the program online, but the money just isn't there, he said.
The future of many programs at Foothill seem uncertain, due to the state's financial crisis.
"This is probably only the beginning of a number of program cuts that we will have to be making over the next year or two," said Foothill College President Bernadine Chuck Fong.