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City College is the free express bus to success

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(Ekevara Kitpowsong/2016 Special to S.F. Examiner)

Recent headlines in this paper could mislead readers with an erroneous impression that City College is cutting its budget and classes for students, and that students who are scheduled to graduate in May 2019 therefore will be delayed

This is simply not the case.

These are the facts: City College enrollment is growing and the college has dramatically increased its financial aid to students so that all who are scheduled to do so will indeed graduate on time in May. Our policy is that no student scheduled for graduation in May will be delayed. Period. Nonetheless, if even one student or teacher is inconvenienced by a dropped class, that is one too many. That is why we have made provisions for each student to meet with a counselor to provide a class solution.

The Examiner’s reporting of Sept. 2, 2018, “CCSF students denounce class cuts that leave some short of graduation requirements,” is especially ironic because it came on the same night the City College Board of Trustees unanimously approved the college annual budget for 2018-2019. This $186M operating budget represents an increase in spending over last year for three important reasons:

First and foremost, the approved budget included a fall class schedule that added a net of an extra 200 classes over last year. The Examiner’s reporting noted that 177 classes were cancelled, affecting 892 of 27,000 students, but it failed to mention all of the data that was presented to the public last Thursday: The dropped classes had an average enrollment of six students. By using our limited classroom space more efficiently the college was able to add high-demand courses that created nearly 2,000 additional seats for students.

Second, the approved budget included a significant salary increase for all teachers as part of a new three-year collective bargaining agreement with the American Federation of Teachers, AFT 2121.

Third, the approved budget included a special action to approve the appointment of 65 new full-time tenure-track faculty, something the college has not invested in for many years.

Finally, the Examiner entirely missed the biggest news story of the Aug. 30 meeting: our Board of Trustees is moving forward at significant cost and effort for the very first time to provide affordable housing for 175 of our employees and 500 students. City College is putting students and teachers first with bold actions and increased funding.

There is an old saying in journalism that no one reports the planes that land safely. Now that City College is well managed, fiscally responsible and at labor peace, we are not an attention-getting headline. So cover the protests, but please tell the whole story so that all of the residents of San Francisco know that they can obtain quality higher education to receive their degrees and certificates for a better future. The real news story is that City College is the express bus to success for our students. And the ride is free thanks to the good people of San Francisco and Free City.

Ms. Brigitte Davila is president of the Board of Trustees and Dr. Mark Rocha is chancellor of City College of San Francisco.

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