Governing board postpones decision on funding for theater association
Trustee Denis Honeychurch’s motion to delay the decision regarding Solano Community College’s funding to the Solano College Theater Association (SCTA) invoked a standing ovation and cheers from most of the members of the public assembled for the governing board meeting in the back half of the cafeteria on Wednesday, May 16.
“I have concerns and am asking for more time and thought,” said Honeychurch after making his motion. “[Cutting funding to the theater association] represents a major policy change.”
Jowel Laguerre, superintendent/president of SCC asked that the governing board terminate the agreement between the college and the SCTA.
Currently, SCC gives $750,000 annually to the SCTA. Instead of $750,000 to the SCTA, SCC would fund the theater program at $100,000 per year.
“While this arrangement has been in place for many years and SCTA, a separate non-profit foundation, has produced terrific performances for the College and the community, the continued revenue reductions from the state show that the College’s resources are not sufficient to continue to subsidize the College Theater Association at that level,” stated the proposal to the governing board.
Trustee Phil McCaffrey seconded the motion and expressed concern that the administration did not follow proper protocol when presenting this item to the governing board.
“There will need to be a cut in this area [theater] – we need to do something about it before July 1,” said Trustee Catherine Ritch. “These cuts are not easy for us.”
The new fiscal year begins on July 1.
The governing board unanimously approved the delay until the second meeting in June. The governing board website lists June 20 as the second meeting in June.
“We waited as long as we could. Our only saving grace is if the tax packet is passed in November,” Laguerre said.
California governor Jerry Brown is proposing a series of tax measures for the Nov. ballot to help stabilize education in the state.
“This is not a cut to the [theater] program; just to the SCTA,” said Rosemary Thurston, board president.
Prior to the motion several members of the public spoke to the governing board asking for no cuts to the theater association.
“Theatre here is so much more than a show; it’s a way of life,” said Princess Washington. “Everyone here [in the theater] is family…we all truly love what we do.”
“I built the Harbor Theater,” said Suisun resident and theatre coordinator Pam Spering. “The Solano College Theater was at one time a gem. It’s sad to see what has happened here…you’re taking a gem and destroying it.”
“Before the guillotine falls, I want to thank you for the opportunity [for funding the theater association],” said Barbara Bandy, adjunct professor of theater arts at SCC, speaking to the governing board.
“My condolence to the students,” said Bandy as she fought back tears.