City College of San Francisco

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The politics of the City College Board mirrors the dysfunction of the institution itself.  Virtually the only people who seem to want the trustee job are those looking for a stepping-stone or who can’t find anything better to do with their time.  Despite nonstop travails, including nosediving enrollment and continuous near bankruptcy, one trustee, whose seat isn’t in play this cycle, has been installed for 14 terrible years.  Even Pacific Gas and Electric Company retired its longtime board members, though it took homicide charges to force the action.

This essential institution is poised, yet again, for a change, this time hopefully for the better.  It has money to invest from a $850 million bond that passed last year, could leverage Free City to boost enrollment, and is partnering with San Francisco State University on an early-transfer program. Perhaps the present round of CCB candidates will rise to the occasion.  

Attorney Jeanette Quick seems to understand the depths of CCSF’s problems and has an approach to fixing them. “The greatest challenge facing City College is the fact that it is in financial freefall with rising budget deficits and no clear plan as to how it will get back on track,” Quick wrote in response to questions from the View. “It is possible that I will vote to close campuses if it’s determined that there are no resources to make them viable; I do not think this is an ideal outcome, but the reality is that the College has very little funds and its ability to operate as a going concern is in question. In such a state, making cuts is preferable to shutting down the college completely.”

College instructor Victor Olivieri’s highest priority is “Righting the wrongs of years of deficit spending and deferred maintenance.” He believes that CCSF’s financial situation is “dire,” and wants to use a 2019 audit of the college as the basis to address embedded problems.

Incumbent Tom Temprano wants “…to create a common-sense budget that prioritizes getting resources into our classrooms, to get San Francisco students into City College by rebuilding the relationship with the San Francisco Unified School District and to ensure that City College has the classes and programs that students want and need to be successful.” His effectiveness in making progress towards these goals during his short time in office is questionable, but at least he’s pointing in the right direction.

“The District’s current financial situation is dire,” said Alan Wong, who is an education policy advisor for District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar. “As a fiscal steward for the welfare of the entire college community, I acknowledge that I must be open to all options to close the structural budget deficit at the College. As a last resort, Trustees must be willing to consider making hard decisions to consolidate, close, or reduce underperforming programs and services.”

The View endorses Quick, Olivieri, Temprano, and Wong for City College Board.