Supes urge CCSF to explore their financial options

It’s no secret that City College is going through some tough times. Now, three supervisors are challenging the institution to start thinking creatively about how to solve its financial woes, urging it to use millions of dollars from a parcel tax to fund more classes instead of other, more traditional options.

Rather than follow the college accreditation officials advice of  tapping into the school’s already faltering financial reserves, supervisors say CCSF should use the $16 million it will receive from Proposition A each year for the next eight years to fund classes.

Prop. A, a parcel tax approved by voters in November, was approved in February by CCSF  to use towards technology and maintenance as well as bolster the college’s cash stash.

In a nonbinding resolution, introduced Tuesday at a Board of Supervisors Committee, supervisors essentially are asking CCSF to put better systems in place to support the school at the city level. Supervisor Eric Mar, a co-sponsor of the resolution told the SF Examiner:

“Because of the value of City College, it’s time to think more creatively and have better systems to support the school at the city level. This resolution calls for the school to use as much of Prop. A funds to keep classrooms open as possible.”

As anyone who attends CCSF can attest, class offerings are sparse, and most are jam-packed and difficult to enroll in, running contrary to the idea of a true community college. The school has been in a downward spiral in financing its operations due to $53 million worth of cuts in the past six years.

Strapped for cash, CCSF officials were forced to rely on reserve funds to prevent drastic reduction of classes, which significantly depleted the reserve level.

Unsurprisingly, this did not go over well from a state accreditation agency. Last summer, following the release of a blistering report by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior colleges regarding CCSF’s finances and numerous violations, CCSF desperately began searching for ways to bump up its fiscal stability. It was then that CCSF went to the voters to get the approval for the parcel tax.

Prop. A and the statewide tax measure Proposition 30 significantly brightened CCSF’s financial horizons, which equated to increased class offerings for the summer and fall semesters. Since the possibility of using city money to build up CCSF’s reserves drew some criticism, proponents of the proposition to use the parcel tax were careful to point out that it had a multipronged goal.

Supervisor John Avalos –who was one of the three floating the idea – says the goal is to bring more funding to support the actual work of education and the community rather than just funding to pad the reserves.