This is the most important Board of Trustees election that City College of San Francisco has ever faced.
I first ran for the City College Board to fight corruption and mismanagement at City College. The problems were rampant and included construction mismanagement to the tune of $200 million in cost overruns. I worked to force out top administrators, three of whom pleaded guilty to money laundering.
Two years ago, the accrediting agency, (the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges), threatened to close the college down, ignoring the recommendation of its own judicial panel. The unanimous recommendation of the review panel was for a sanction of Probation. The agency CEO ignored it.
We at City College have now completed 95% of the required tasks. The Board of Trustees updated dozens of policies, restructured top management, and implemented multi-year planning processes. The last budget the Board passed had a multi-million-dollar surplus. Academically, City College of San Francisco has been one of the top performing community colleges in California in terms of student success rates. And still, the accrediting agency is threatening to shut the school down, despite having not sent anyone out to the College for 18 months.
The State Legislature audited the accrediting agency and determined that the agency is inconsistent in how it judges community colleges. The US Department of Education has found that the accrediting agency has conflicts of interest and doesn't follow its own rules. The City of San Francisco is suing the agency, claiming that it has a political agenda of promoting for-profit colleges by attacking public colleges.
So why is this election important? We need trustees who will provide strict oversight of the administration to make sure there is no backsliding on the important reforms I have worked to implement. We also need members of the City College Board of Trustees who are willing to fight for a fair deal for City College, and work with elected officials in Congress and the State Legislature to put pressure on the accrediting agency to lift the threat of closing down one of California's best community colleges.
John Rizzo is President of the Board of Trustees at City College of San Francisco and is running for re-election. For more information on his campaign please visit http://johnrizzoforcollegeboard.com/