CCSF cuts, closure would impact staffing at SF hospitals

Hospitals could begin to experience a staffing crunch if student enrollment at City College of San Francisco continues on its downward trajectory.

The financially burdened community college has graduated more than three quarters of the radiology staff at San Francisco General Hospital and half of the radiology workforce at UC San Francisco, representatives of the hospitals said Monday.

SEE RELATED: CCSF reduces class offerings as fiscal cliff looms

“If you go into any hospital in San Francisco and the surrounding area, the majority of the technologists that you’d encounter in a radiology department came from City College of San Francisco,” said Diana Garcia, head of CCSF’s Diagnostic Medical Imaging Program.

The DMI Program is just one of the many departments that hangs in the balance as student enrollment declines and a crucial decision on the college’s accreditation approaches next month. By February, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges will have announced whether CCSF has met a series of standards to remain open and accredited, as it is today.

SEE RELATED: Shrinking budget expected to cost CCSF faculty, staff positions

Congresswoman Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco/San Mateo counties, hosted a panel Monday with local and state officials to discuss the progress that the college has made since the accreditation crisis began there in 2012.

CCSF has since lost about a third of its student population, and would have lost funding attached to enrollment if the state had not provided the college with stability funding. However, stability funding expires next year and the college is expected to lose about $35 million.

“We have reason to be hopeful about the future of this great institution,” said Speier, a longtime ally of the college who is calling on the U.S. Department of Education to stop recognizing the ACCJC as a valid accreditor for holding CCSF to unfair standards.

If enrollment does not increase, CCSF will have to cut more courses and reduce its class schedule. Such reductions, which began this year and are expected to continue by 5 percent annually over the next five years, have already put a strain on the DMI program.

“You wonder what type of institution this will be if we have to slice a quarter of our programs,” said CCSF Board of Trustees President Rafael Mandelman. “I just don’t know whether you can do cuts on that level and preserve the City College we love.”

Garcia said prerequisites for the DMI Program have been cut or reduced, though its own courses have not. “If you cut any of my classes you’ve destroyed my program,” she said.

The program has 71 students at present and admits 15 new students a semester, according to Garcia. Students earn more than $100,000 when they are hired for their first jobs after graduation, while they pay just $5,000 for the entire program.

If CCSF closed, students would have to pay upwards of $45,000 for the same education at proprietary schools, Garcia said.