Residents in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria and the surrounding local unincorporated communities all strongly approve of the job Santa Barbara City College is doing and recognize that the college is in need of additional funding for facility improvements.

Lori Gaskin

SBCC President Lori Gaskin

According to a recently completed community survey of Santa Barbara Community College District voters conducted in May by the independent polling firm of EMC Research, SBCC has a 94 percent favorability rating. Additionally, an impressive 68 percent of respondents would vote yes or lean toward supporting a potential local education bond to maintain quality, affordable education by investing in repairs and upgraded infrastructure at the college.

“I am humbled by the strong support in our community for the work we do and the educational programs City College provides,” said Dr. Lori Gaskin, college president. “With the cost of higher education skyrocketing, SBCC is committed to ensuring our local students have access to high-quality, affordable college classes and programs to help them prepare for careers and transfer to four-year universities.”

Based on interviews with 601 randomly selected Santa Barbara Community College District respondents, the survey found that residents were extremely pleased with the quality of education at SBCC — with 85 percent providing an excellent or good rating. Respondents also gave strong marks to the variety of classes being offered, the quality of faculty and staff, and the ability of the district to properly manage taxpayer money.

With regard to the community’s interest in a potential local education bond to address critical college campus and classroom needs, Gaskin said, “I was so pleased to see such overwhelming support and interest in funding our educational facilities. Every time it rains, classes in our Campus Center building must be canceled due to structural leaks. A locally-approved bond measure would allow City College to replace this critical facility and better serve our students.”

Additional funding is also needed to replace leaky roofs and decaying/aging classrooms and facilities; continue to remove hazardous materials from old buildings; improve technology and energy efficiency; and upgrade academic, science, engineering, healthcare, and vocational classrooms. Investments in these essential infrastructure needs support SBCC’s goal to continue to help students prepare for careers and transfer to universities.

The SBCC Board of Trustees received the results of the community survey at a study session meeting on Thursday. Over the coming months, SBCC will continue to solicit input from the community on their priorities for the college, including obtaining stakeholder and community input on college needs and priorities.

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for Santa Barbara City College.