Brenna Swift, The Union Democrat

Columbia College, once at risk of cutting more courses, has been able to offer a wide range of summer classes this year.

Registration is starting for the summer term, with classes covering everything from nature photography to workplace attitude.

Summer classes at Columbia could have been a casualty of state budget cuts if the passage of Proposition 30 in November hadn't helped preserve them, college officials have said.

The school even managed to offer more vocational classes than it did last summer, including courses on hospitality management, welding and child development. Many are introductory, designed to help students determine whether the career is a good fit for them.

A number of classes, including one on wildflowers and another on creative nonfiction, will be offered at the High Sierra Institute at Baker Station.

Open registration for summer classes begins Tuesday, and the first set of courses starts May 6. Students and community members can register through Columbia's online system at

Columbia classes are open to community members, too, provided they've registered as a student and take any necessary prerequisites.

In other news, Columbia is offering six fall classes at various locations in Calaveras County, including Bret Harte High School and Mark Twain Elementary School.

The college still plans on expanding its offerings in Calaveras, said Acting President

Leslie Buckalew. The focus there will be on general education requirements and courses that can transfer to four-year schools.

About 18 percent of Columbia students come from Calaveras County, and voters there approved a college district bond measure by a 56.65 percent margin after being told they would get a satellite campus.

But Buckalew has said the college wouldn't be able to staff the campus because of ongoing uncertainties about state funding.

Proposition 30 merely ensured that further cuts wouldn't be made and doesn't add "new" funding, she said.

Buckalew has met with Calaveras County Superintendent of Schools Kathy Northington and Bret Harte Union High School District Superintendent Mike Chimente to talk about expanding course offerings in Angels Camp.

Columbia may offer courses in the Calaveras County Office of Education building, but an agreement hasn't been finalized, Northington said.