Tech troubles at Vermont Technical College prompt resignation
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) A Vermont technical school is facing the same challenges it did more than a decade ago: a shortage of skilled teachers, a drop in enrollment and a shortage in computer labs.
The problem has forced the school to close its computer lab for the year and put in place new rules that have made it harder to hire the right workers.
The school’s president says it’s a mistake, not a threat, but many of the faculty are furious.
“We are seeing some of the most difficult work of our life being performed on a computer lab that has been in operation for the last eight years,” said Thomas DeWitt, the school’s provost and dean.
The school is also struggling to keep up with a rising number of students with medical conditions who need extra support.
The shortage has forced administrators to make some decisions about where to teach.
One choice is the school on the north side of San Francisco, but the campus in Oakland is less desirable and the district doesn’t have enough room to move.
The new rules also mean that Vermont students can’t take their own tests, which are a necessary step for students who need the help of an aide.
It also means the school can’t hire extra tutors or other staff.
The Vermont School for Creative Technologies says it has an average of 100 computer lab technicians per year, but students say they have been told they can’t fill positions because they’re not trained.
They say they need help from other Vermont residents and outside companies to get a job.
“I think it’s just really hard to find people that have the right experience to do what we do, the right skills, the skills that are needed to do our job,” said the school vice president, Chris Tovar.
“It’s really hard.”
The school also has a $6 million deficit that has prompted administrators to raise tuition and to add extra courses.
The college’s vice president said he’s also heard of other schools across the country facing similar problems.
The first computer lab at the school closed in 2008.
The second was reopened in 2009.
The third was closed in 2015.
The fourth was closed again in 2018.
The fourth computer lab closed last year.
The next lab is expected to reopen in 2019.
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