Friday, January 9, 2015

Update on SCROC: Michael Wermers


Over the past two weeks, I have been in touch with local leaders regarding the fate of SCROC. School Board member Terry Ragins has been very helpful, taking time to explain the ramifications of the state and local pressures, as well as the need for ongoing funding, as well as finding out what the next state budget would provide.

Torrance School Board Member Michael Wermers informed me that aside from the promised funding from Torrance Unified and the other attending districts connected to SCROC, plus the one years worth of reserves, he has concerns that the state will not step in with the needed funding.

He explained to me that the previous assemblyman for the South Bay, Al Muratsuchi, had invited the Governor to attend SCROC, view the facilities, and learn about the importance of the institution. Governor Brown did not visit, likely because he had no intention of maintaining a funding stream for the vocational center.

Up to this point, the school board member also acknowledged that he has not spoken with anyone who directly benefits from SCROC, i.e. they have children enrolled in the programs.

Wermers affirmed that SCROC is not going to close down, because the facility is too valuable and important to the community, but he did emphasize that the building and its costs need to be restricted.

"The superintendent of SCROC makes more money that the Superintendent of Torrance Unified, but has a fraction of the students to supervise. This has to change."

I was not aware of the superintendent's compensation. I will be seeking more information on this in the future.

Current opinion rests in the hopes that Governor Brown and the state legislature will set aside $3.4 million dollar for the facility. Come July, when the state funding runs out, SCROC leaders have ensured everyone that the reserves will carry the institution through for one more year.

Michael Wermers

But after that, what? It's possible that local businesses or major corporations could donate funding or provide a public-private partnership for SCROC.

Whatever investment that another partnership or corporation could provide, vocational training is crucial for young people. A college degree in esoteric or non-practical subjects will not guarantee a good-paying job. Two of the Torrance School Board members do not have college degrees, and neither does a prime Presidential contender, Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Yet that factor has not stopped them from accomplishing great things.

The role and placement of education, from K-12 and beyond, rests on more than attending a four-year university.

I will be reaching out to different members of the SCROC governing board over the next week, and get some understanding of what they want to do, or propose to do, in order to maintain SCROC in the South Bay for all residents, young and old.

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