After coming close to shutting down basic courses next semester for the lack of instructors, Ventura County's three community colleges will begin searching this week for four new full-time instructors.
Oxnard College is already turning away students for math courses required for entering state universities, and Ventura College has turned over the teaching of some subjects almost entirely to part-time staff members, officials from both colleges said.
Their arguments prompted officials of the Ventura County Community College District to agree Tuesday to fund four new instructors' positions.
Today, top officials are meeting to discuss how the new positions will be split among the schools. But Jim Walker, interim chancellor, said it is most likely that each college will get at least one new hire.
Though the colleges have long labored with too few full-time instructors due to budget constraints, officials say they took a big hit last spring when the district offered early retirement incentives to save money.
Oxnard lost four full-time instructors; Moorpark Community College lost three, and Ventura lost 10 members of its teaching staff.
"We were hit with the sheer numbers of losing that much faculty all at one time," said Deborah Ventura, academic Senate president for Ventura College. "That just really exacerbated a problem that was already there. We lost so many people in disciplines in which we were already hurting."
Though the new instructors will help, college officials say that to offset the effects of the loss, the district will have to consider funding more positions in the future.
In a proposal presented to the board Tuesday, the colleges recommended hiring 15 new instructors over the next few semesters. Though reluctant to approve more than the four new instructors for next semester, the board said it would consider more hires at its meeting next month.