LAKE COUNTY, CA – In an effort to help Clearlake youth obtain a college education, the Clearlake City Council on Thursday approved a funding commitment agreement for this purpose.
The Board unanimously approved the Clearlake College Promise Program, an agreement between the city and Woodland Community College, which has a campus in Clearlake.
The program will allocate $55,000 in city funds for the years 2022-23 and 2023-24 “for the purpose of implementing the recent Dollar Scholarship Program.”
You will pay the fee to eligible Clearlake residents who have graduated from any high school within the City of Clearlake and attend any of the three Woodland Community College campuses.
As the agreement explains, “The services will benefit the City of Clearlake and its residents by encouraging high school graduate Clearlake residents to pursue college education and providing educational opportunities to students who may not be able to afford to continue their education.”
The program has two components: the Clearlake College Promise and a scholarship component called the Clearlake Stars Scholarship.
Clearlake College Promise will cover up to two years of community college fees for eligible Clearlake students. The agreement states that students graduating from high school within 12 months prior to enrollment will be eligible for the promise component.
The Points-Based Clearlake Stars Scholarship provides up to $1,000 annually for additional discretionary college expenses. This scholarship is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2023.
The agreement states that “the Program may provide eligible students with scholarship funds that may be used to pay for college expenses including textbooks and other supplemental materials required for enrolled classes.”
The program was developed after Mayor Dirk Sloten began speaking to the college about the concept of the program.
He told Lake County News in an interview earlier this year that the program is modeled on one Woodland City with Woodland Community College.
Sloten said the city’s financial commitment isn’t a huge amount, but it’s expected to have an impact on students.
It is also expected to help increase enrollment, a challenge that the Yuba Community College District — of which Woodland Community College is a part — is struggling across its eight-county service area.
As a result of Sloten’s discussions with the college, in May Dr. Cirillo Cortez, Dean of the Lake County Campus at Woodland College, and College President Dr. Art Pimentel gave a presentation to the Board on the idea of the Promise Program, which was then proposed to provide a total of $40,000.
As a result of the presentation, the board gave directions to the staff to work with the college on a plan.
At a meeting Thursday, City Manager Alan Flora credited Slooten for his energy and ability to work with the college to seal the agreement.
Cortez was present at the meeting to answer questions while Pimentel Zoom was in attendance.
Pimentel said he appreciates the city’s development of the model. He added that high school students who participate in such programs succeed.
He thanked Sloten and the board, noting that they asked what they could do to help support education, youth in this community, and workforce development.
Pimentel said he was pleased to know the city is committed to the community and youth and offers as many opportunities as possible.
Slooten then read a letter from Konocti Consolidated Director Dr. Becky Salato, who thanked the Board for its consideration and approval, citing the importance of education.
With support from the city, the future will remain bright for students, with Salato adding that it takes a village to raise a child.
During the discussion, Flora notes that a student who takes 15 units of a community college pays $742, a number mentioned in the agreement.
Council member Ross Kramer praised Slooten for his work. “I think it’s a great program,” Kramer said. “This is the kind of thing we need to support.”
Cramer then moved to approve the program, with Overton offered a second and the board voted 5-0.
“Now we really have to start promoting this,” Sloten said.
He added that he was in the college’s culinary arts program on the Lake County campus that day. This program now has a waiting list.