CCSF board approves report to accreditors amid heavy criticism

CCSF students, faculty, and other supporters swarmed the meeting where the board approved concessions requested by accreditors.
Joe Fitzgerald

Windsong, a 21-year-old City College student, held a sign that read “I love CCSF” while standing along Ocean Avenue last evening, as cars rolled by honking their support for the embattled school.

“I love learning while not being bound by the four-year school structure,” she said. She’s an artist in residence at a local elementary school, and was protesting to make sure City College of San Francisco could give her students the same opportunities she had.

“This place is in my heart,” she said. And she wasn’t alone.

Nearly 200 protesters lined the building outside of City College’s board of trustees meeting last night as the CCSF Board of Trustees approved the school’s “Show Cause” report, which is a 220-page document detailing what the college has done to meet its accreditation requirements -- accreditation is required for a college degree to have worth, and for a school to receive state funding.

In short, it’s a document arguing what the college has done to improve since it was hit with sanctions last October, and why it should stay open and accredited. The report is due to the accreditation commission on March 15.

The Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges hit City College with a “show cause” sanction, citing a lack of progress in six problem areas the school was supposed to address since its last accreditation review six years before. When the accrediting commission came back to check on the school, it concluded City College had yet to address key areas, including measuring Student Learning Outcomes, and adequately funding their reserve, a “rainy day fund” the college leans on in hard times.

City College said that it has now met the challenge of those key problem areas. “We were deferring maintenance, and deferring (upgrading) technology,” said board president John Rizzo. “We’re required to spend money, and this gives us a plan going forward.”

But the shouting protesters outside the meeting and the angry students inside disagreed with some points of the plan. Proposition A was a parcel tax measure approved by voters in November that would raise somewhere between $14-16 million City College annually, which the board wanted to use to beef up the college’s reserve fund, one of the key areas where they were knocked by the accrediting commission.

California Federation of Teachers president Joshua Pechthalt implored the board to use Prop A funds for current teachers. “The men and women who work in this college spent many hours taking money out of their pockets to pass Prop A,” Pechthalt said in public comment to the board. The audience of about a hundred or so faculty and students cheered. “I would ask you to work closely with faculty and staff, that you work collaboratively with them.”

Pechthalt was there at the behest of Alisa Messer, the president of City College’s American Federation of Teachers Local 2121. Teachers at City College have had wage freezes for years, and most recently had an 8.8 percent wage reduction just this past month.

Part-time teachers were hit too, as nearly 40 of them were “not rehired” for the current semester, as well as 18 counselors and 30 members of the college’s staff..

Student Martin Madrigal, a 29-year-old mathematics major at CCSF, said he also supported using the Prop A funding to prevent layoffs and wage reductions.

“I missed class to come to this fight,” Madrigal said to the board. “But if I didn’t come here there wouldn’t be a class to miss.”

One by one, faculty and students implored the board to use Prop A funds to buffer the college’s wage reductions and layoffs. At one point, student Eric Blanc, a member of the protest group Save CCSF, came to the podium to speak in public comment and was cut off by the board. Ten or so other students and faculty had yet to speak, and were told there was no longer time.

Blanc then demanded of the board his time to speak. The campus police chief, Andre Barnes, and an officer approached Blanc and tried to remove him from the room. The tension in the room mounted as the audience started chanting “let him speak, let him speak!”

Trustee Rafael Mandelman diffused the situation, asking for silence and calmly explaining that the board needed time to conduct its business. Tensions rose again though as the topic of the college’s reserve fund came up -- the reserve is now at $4 million, but the school is planning to boost it to $13 million by 2014, and $18 million by 2019.

It’s a needed safety net, the trustees argued, for a school with a budget hovering at more than $200 million a year and an economy that’s in the tank.

“Tomorrow the sequestration will begin, and it will impact California spending and our communities,” Trustee Steve Ngo said. “This [money] is going to faculty and staff, but in the future. Faculty and staff would not have to take cuts in wages, if we had funded the reserve.”

Ultimately, the board voted to approve its long term reserve fund plan, using Prop A funds to help buffer the reserve for the future. Blanc told the trustees that they had denied themselves other options, like suing the accreditation commission, or asking for emergency funding from City Hall.

“I think behind the rhetoric of this are thousands of people being shut out,” he said.

Vice Chancellor Peter Goldstein, who handles college finance, said that some of the claims of the protesters were inaccurate.

“I keep hearing people talking about cutting classes,but that’s not our plan for [fiscal year] 13-14,” he said. “In fact, this college is putting together a budget for next year that will have more classes than this year.”

The college may not be cutting classes, but it is asking everyone to do more with less. Teachers to teach with less salary, students to fit into larger classrooms, and for classes soon to fit into fewer campuses.

Whether those are improvements or dire straits depends on who you ask.

Video by Joe Fitzgerald:


Save CCSF plans to march to City Hall to demand aid to CCSF and to protest austerity cuts at the college on March 14. For more information visit

Click here to read City College’s 220 page “Show Cause” report:


It doesn't matter what they think, self serving or otherwise. What matters is that CCSF is not vaiable, and some fat needs to be cut. This seems like a start but we need more cuts to get this institution downsized to something more viable.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

"and an economy that’s in the tank" Has anyone told Ed Lie about this?

Posted by marcos on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

because economies never do well in every part - different sectors have different cycles.

I suspect the booming economy in finance, property, IT, biotech, management consultancy, law and fund management are not percolating thru to a low-income joint like CCSF.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 5:14 pm

But the music is playing on the Titanic called CCSF, everything is fine, oh but the economy is fine don't cut teachers pay at CCSF while mobs of unemployed can simply get more Federal money run up more unpayable debt, the elitists teachers at CCSF deserve to be prtoteced, they deserve immunity from budget cuts.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 11:42 pm

What a debacle.

The trustees want to use the parcel taxes to bolster the reserves. "California Federation of Teachers president Joshua Pechtalt implored the board to use Prop A funds for current teachers." What a shocker -- the teachers want the money for themselves.

Posted by The Commish on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 5:43 pm

what the teachers want and then do the exact opposite, on the grounds that the teachers care far more about their pay and benefits than theyc are about the students or the college.

They're lucky that I am not in charge of CCSF as I'd fire another 20% of the parasitic leeches.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 7:30 pm

Whereas we hate teachers so much we'd prefer to starve them to death. Anyone who knows anything is an enema.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 2:49 am

waste of taxpayers' money and city staff whose pay and benefits are so high that the institution they work for is being destroyed.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 6:59 am

I remember sitting in a class at CCSF and watching the teacher use her brand new Apple laptop, text on her IPhone while we were writing and her taking time off and cancelling our classes from time to time so she could go to a wedding and other personal holidays, and then I remember her telling us about the virtues of volunteering and helping others, all the while she was being paid over $60,000 per year plus perks, do you all see the disconnect now?

You CCSF students that helped get Obama elected because the teachers brainwashed you, think they care about the school about CCSF? If it did close they will get jobs somewhere else thanks to their union, what will you do?
While you are educationally homeless the simply move on to the next school like locusts and educational, union thug zombies feeding off the next healthy and living insitution until they suck them dry too.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 10:37 pm

San Francisco keeps re-electing CCSF board members and adding new ones who insist the problem is with the accreditation group and not with the way the college is run. Then we vote to give them MORE money. At this point I am starting to come around to the belief that the whole CCSF system is so willfully blind that perhaps placing it in receivership or shutting it down is the preferable alternative. Reform is not coming from within.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 7:29 pm

It has taken some time to root out remnants of the Day administration that was empowered by Berg, Wong and Rodis so that Willie's machine could have control over the contracting.

Hypothetical fiscal problems are not really a problem so long as they have no bearing on the quality of education the system delivers which it appears they do not.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 7:58 pm

I completely agree with you. Shut it down. Re-open with new structure and organization. Hire the competent. Pay competitively. Reward good work and diligence. Reform health and retirement benefits. Educate and train what the city and state needs. Accept students who can benefit from the learning experience.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 03, 2013 @ 11:21 pm

This has to be the best and most logical statement here and to the point in just a few words. CCSF should have you fix their problems.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

Thank you for everyone's patience. Everything is worthless if I had made ONE grammatical mistake.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 4:01 pm

you're an effing idiot

Posted by Guest on Mar. 11, 2013 @ 11:08 pm

who is surprised by-- and uncomprehending of-- trollery on this forum.


Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 12:37 am

discounting posters who take the time and effort to develop cogent arguments.

Posted by anon on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 6:05 am

imaginable with deadpan certitude.

The troll has scarcely ever -- if ever -- made cogent arguments.

anon's commentary technique is all about calculated effrontery and layering deception atop deception to the point where the center of gravity on any topic inexorably seems to be pushed closer towards the right.

That this slickness is employed to such little purpose on such a regular basis here is indicative only of the strangely high value being placed on such disruption.

There is nothing else which may be learnt from the troll's deposits.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 6:41 am

Nothing you ever say is germane to the topic, as here.

Posted by anon on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 6:55 am

If we want to know what anon thinks, we can read,,,, watch Fox News, Bloomberg or any of the other conventional wisdom propaganda outlets.

Y'all ain't saying nothing new, just the same tired crap over and over and over.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 8:28 am

We all know what you think by now, so by bother continuing to post at all?

Same thing.

Posted by anon on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 9:34 am

Just a friendly reminder that you'd rather not see.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 9:57 am

I don't yell "troll" or "moron" every time someone disagrees with me, nor insult or otherwise abuse them.

Rather, I systemativcally demolish and refute their position through dialectic, debate and discourse.

Posted by anon on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 10:11 am

Your opinions are not contrary opinions they are the conventional wisdom dominant paradigm that govern government from DC to SF.

We all know what you think already as there are plenty of venues that broadcast the world according to your philosophy. Relentlessly.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 10:25 am

Every communist nation needed censorship and a vast internal police force to suppress it's populace.

The right believes in freedom; the left rarely does,

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 10:44 am

Nobody is trying to shut down the mainstream conservative media operations that spout nothing but your bullshit opinions relentlessly.

In fact, you all add zero value to that you read elsewhere, just annoyingly parrot the same sing song rhymes over and again.

Like the Christians that proselytize relentlessly, we've heard your "good news," now shut the fuck up and take it outside.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 10:51 am

there for taking it too far. But the moderates who post here are generally very, well, moderate. Nobody who posts here is in any way right-wing. But on progressive island, even a political centrist is hated, it seems.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 10:58 am

the *exact* behavior that they impute to the left; fucking lying hypocrites that they are.

I got banned on SFGate because when you include words like "Mexican" in comments there -- even in the most absolutely neutral and innocent manner as I did earlier here -- fucking lying two-faced disgusting pseudo-Americans like onan report such comments as being offensive or otherwise violating the terms of that site; enough of such reports result in comments being censored and commenters being banned.

The fucking lying trolls like Onan should be banned from right now. That would *only* be fair.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

that's what you are doing here. You got banned because you have a nasty attitude and make things too personal. You need to relax and debate the issues rather than hating on anyone you happen to disagree with.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 12:30 pm

these trolls falsely impute statements to other commenters. This is tantamount to an ad hominem attack, but the ploy seems impervious to editorial/administrative rebuke. Calling such liars what they are, though, results in quick action.

The right wing doesn't believe in freedom or democracy except that which can be measured in dollars.

SFGate is a forum overrun by facile and vacuous drollery -- jackasses such as "fibdiddler" -- and outright fascist propandandizers such as onan here.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 1:28 pm

there when you devote considerable energy to trying (unsuccessfully) to discourage moderates from posting here?

Posted by anon on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

Your views are well represented in the corporate media. SFGate/The Chronicle is a corporate/fascist mouthpiece and the limitations on who can be posted there reflect the anti-democratic intent of the owners.

The SFBG administrators, on the other hand, extend far greater latitude to you trolls than you deserve.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

supports the right to abortion and gay marriage.

Posted by anon on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

who acts the part of the troll; often adopting positions which are easily mistaken for moronic.

No, strike that. onan uses multiple identities and frequently has engaged in all manner of ad hominem attack in every one of them.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 10:32 am

FYI, faculty salaries are below the poverty line for SF.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 7:59 pm

How many of them live in SF?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 1:13 am

A lot of them lives in the East Bay or buy home in the East Bay because of the lower cost and the relatively low stress jobs (it allows them to make the commute). The can also take some kind of rebate for taking public transportation. If I were the chancellor, I would put in guideline to hire San Franciscan first.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 03, 2013 @ 8:34 pm

A lot of staff and faculty lives in the East Bay because it is cheaper. They can make the long commute because the jobs is relatively low stress. A lot of them bought homes in the East Bay knowing that they will work in CCSF for many more years. They would not think about transfer to another community college.

Also, they can get some kind of rebate for taking public transit such as BART.

If I were chancellor, I will make a guide-line to hire San Franciscans first.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 03, 2013 @ 8:47 pm

what you think you need or want.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 6:36 am

Obviously, the solution to CCSF's problems is to give faculty a big pay increase!

They deserve it!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 7:20 am

because he wasn't left-wing enough!

We should be rewarding success, not failure, and CCSF has failed on all levels. It's not even worth lostening to the teachers, and I am glad the trustees did not.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 11:02 am

"Obviously, the solution to CCSF's problems is to give faculty a big pay increase!

They deserve it!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 7:20 am"

THEN WHAT? CCSF shut down....

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 7:28 pm

The federal presumptive eligibility poverty level for San Francisco for a household of 3 people is $37,000.

The minimum hourly salary rate for Part Time Faculty is over $60/hr plus benefits.

The minimum salary level for Full time is $51,000 (and that is without a degree) for those with graduate degree it is $58,000 and Maxes out at almost $96,000


Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

what someone somewhere thinks he should be entitled to.

CCSF staff get fabulous benefits too.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 03, 2013 @ 9:17 am

Please - spell out the fabulous benefits CCSF instructors get. We're all waiting...

Posted by Richmondman on Mar. 08, 2013 @ 2:44 pm

unavailable in the private sector?

Or healthcare subsidies for no reason that I can understand.

But I tell you what - if the benefits are not "fabulous", as you claim, then it would not be a big deal to get rid of them, right?

So let's not cut their pay in return for losing all there bene's! Result.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 08, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

CCSF teachers are in no way underpaid!!! With average salaries at $60,000 a year and benefits!!!!!! And many making more!!!! Chancellor and other paper pushers making much more!!!

And then there is their Teachers Union making sure they get colas (cost of living allocations) and act like the mob!!!!

CCSF teachers re-worded the so-called pay cuts that were actually just freezes on pay raises!!!!

Just like the Post Office the main onus of fiscal problems is the CCSF Teachers retirement funding which is outrageous, this money will pay them to do nothing until they die!

While everyone else in America is hurting the CCSF teachers continue to live in fantasyland and at taxpayers expense. Real people are hurting people losing homes, unemployed, and many can't afford school, but CCSF teachers in their greed look the other way and expect students to pay more, and gladly give away seats to foreign students and illegals so they can continue to get paid, at your expense.

Aren't they wonderful?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 3:34 pm

I'd cap their pay and benefits at 40k pa maximum. At that pay scale, we may be able to save CCSF.

Posted by anon on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 4:27 pm

"as the topic of the college’s reserve fund came up -- the reserve is now at $4 million,


It’s a needed safety net, the trustees argued, for a school with a budget hovering at more than $200 million a year and an economy that’s in the tank."

You mean there is a problem having a financial reserve equivalent to a single weeks spending?

All well-run institutions function with one week's worth of financial reserves!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 9:29 pm

It's simply a bastion of greed for whomever can hold on.

Start over.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 11:40 pm