CCSF’s special trustee reinstated for another year

A special trustee will continue to oversee City College of San Francisco’s board of trustees for another year, even though the elected leaders as of this month have regained authority over all aspects of the school, state community college leaders decided Monday.

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to reinstate a special trustee through July 20, 2016. The resolution was amended prior to the vote to call for California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris to update the Board of Governors on the status of CCSF’s trustees in January.

Guy Lease, the former longtime superintendent and president of Lake Tahoe Community College District, has held the position of special trustee since January. A special trustee was first appointed in July 2013 after CCSF nearly lost its accreditation. The school remains open and fully accredited today.

About half a dozen speakers Monday urged the Board of Governors to restore full control to CCSF’s elected trustees or simply retain the special trustee in an advisory capacity, rather than allow him to have veto power.

“The return of local control in a complete way should have happened awhile ago,” said Tim Killikelly, president of CCSF’s faculty union.

But school leaders generally agreed that the status of CCSF’s elected board is cause to celebrate, noting that the trustees have undergone trainings in numerous tasks and most recently taken control of the school’s budget and finances, the final step before regaining full authority.

“While this appointment may be proposed for a year, I feel fairly confident it won’t take a year for full restoration,” said Cecilia Estolano, vice president of the Board of Governors.

While many agree that CCSF no longer faces an imminent threat of accreditation loss, the school continues to grapple with other challenges, including an enrollment decline of nearly 40 percent, wages for full-time faculty among the lowest in the Bay Area, and difficulty retaining administrators.

More recently, CCSF asked its accreditors to reverse the 2013 decision to revoke the school’s accreditation, following an injunction and judgment handed down in San Francisco Superior Court earlier this year in response to a lawsuit that claimed the commission unfairly voted to strip CCSF of its accreditation.

CCSF, however, remains in restoration status, which gives the school until January 2017 to meet all accrediting requirements.

ldudnick@sfexaminer.com

 Board of TrusteesBrice HarrisCalifornia Community Colleges Board of GovernorsCCSFCity College of San FranciscoGuy Leasespecial trustee

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