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By Sara Bloomberg
The theme of the night was change is coming.
But not everyone agreed on what change and how.
Two special guests from the state chancellor’s office in Sacramento spoke to City College’s board at a special meeting on August 6 about the tough position that the college is in.
State Chancellor Jack Scott and Board of Governors President Scott Himelstein offered their support but reiterated that they couldn’t magically make the state budget cuts disappear.
“We can’t manufacture money,” Scott said, and also told the board that they have to ration scarce funds.
College officials are addressing several problems, including financial stability and effective decision making structures, in order to save the college from losing accreditation.
But a group of about 10 concerned community members and students rallied outside before entering the meeting holding colorful signs with slogans such as, “Say no to austerity,” and, “Save City College from the 1%.”
They hissed and booed when Scott talked about prioritizing funding and cheered when Trustee Chris Jackson defended the school as a last resort for working class and poor people.
“We’re the safety net,” Jackson said. “What happens if you can’t get into community college?”
Technically community colleges are open to everyone but budget cuts are making it increasingly difficult to get into classes.
Board President John Rizzo asked the crowd a few times to refrain from disrupting the meeting with outbursts.
This was the first of two special meetings designed as training sessions on what role the board plays in the accreditation process and the rules that govern their political activities — particularly concerning the local parcel tax initiative on the November ballot that they sponsored.
If passed, the parcel tax would help alleviate some of the steady cuts to that the school has weathered for several years.
Financial sustainability is one of the most pressing concerns facing the college, not only due to more potential state-level cuts but also because it’s a crucial part of its accreditation report.
The board has until next March to demonstrate that they have a plan that address the 14 problem areas highlighted in the Accrediting Commission of Junior and Community College’s June report.
A second meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. tonight and will be held in Room 140 at the Multi Use Building on Ocean campus.