Students left with half education expected after Pickens Technical College cancels night classes

AURORA, Colo. - Students at Pickens Technical College are upset with the district after it decided to cancel some of the evening classes.

District spokesperson Patti Moon told 7NEWS the automotive, HVAC and welding programs will not be offered at night, starting next fall.

"We have about 154 students enrolled in night classes. That’s just about 10 percent of the students at Pickens. We had been trying to increase enrollment in our classes for about the last year and a half but there just hasn’t been that demand," Moon said.

Courtney Parker signed up for the automotive class this semester. He planned on taking the course for two years. Parker, who's worked as a mechanic for 22 years at a landscaping company said the course teaches you more about the engine and electrical parts of the car. However, April 4th,  he received a letter saying his program was being eliminated from the evenings.

"How are we going to finish our course? I work during the day. I can’t have time to quit my job to go to school to learn more about mechanics," Parker said. "There’s nothing I guess I can really do."

There are a total of 17 students in Parker's class; seven started halfway through the year. The school will offer an additional class this summer so the students can receive at least a one year certification. However, many of Parker's classmates told 7NEWS Reporter Lindsey Sablan they chose the program because it had a two-year program. 

"We understand in some cases there’s nothing that those students can do to change their schedule, but we are doing our best to provide classes for most amount of students who want to take them," Moon said.

In Aurora School Board minutes obtained by 7NEWS, it shows during April 15th's meeting 18 students in the weld and automotive programs complained about the cuts.

One student, Megan Dumont, said she "feels punished for being a working adult and cannot afford to take off to attend school during the day." She said she was told that this was a two-year program and was assured by staff in December 2013 that the program would continue.

In an email from board member JulieMarie Shepherd it said, "On behalf of the Board, I can assure you that we believe that Pickens staff members are doing everything possible to ensure that students who want to complete their current certificates will have the opportunity to do so this summer. It is also our understanding that Pickens staff members have actively been communicating with individual students to help them understand what the programmatic changes mean for them and to determine a reasonable course of action that supports successful completion of their current certificate programs."

However, Dumont said she never even received notification her class was being canceled.

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