Students walk near the Wellness Center at the City College of San Francisco Ocean Campus on Friday, May 10, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

City College budget is a victory for inclusion

At City College of San Francisco, we celebrate inclusion, diversity, and opening doorways for all our students. City College enrolls and educates more students than any other San Francisco college or university, and for most of our students, we are a crucial ladder to employment and opportunity. We are also one of the last remaining gathering spaces for San Franciscans of all stripes and neighborhoods. As the community’s college, we understand education being the key to opportunity for all who want to learn.

The Board of Trustees of City College think about our students with every decision we make, and focus on closing the achievement gap for our most underserved students. We have added more full-time tenure track faculty, accelerated class sections to our online college, and expanded support services such as tutoring and counseling to promote student success. In addition, we conducted a comprehensive course by course, section by section audit to ensure we are using our limited budget resources to achieve our number one priority: supporting the graduation and transfer of students in two years or less.

Our Students First approach, combined with a dramatic increase in student services, and the dedication of our students, is already showing results: the number of degrees earned by City College students increased by 36% this year, and the number of certificates increased by 40%.

One of our most important decisions and our fiduciary responsibility has been to reduce our annual deficits and balance our budget. On June 27, the Board of Trustees voted to adopt a balanced budget at City College. We should take great pride in this vote, and recognize the enormous impact it will have on creating more opportunities for our students – especially those who are underserved.

Balancing our budget and making strategic improvements to our academic schedule are essential investments in our students and the long-term success of City College. These are commitments that all of the Trustees are making to the future of this vital institution. Our first responsibility to our students and our community is managing our finances. In addition, the new State Funding Formula, which provides increased funding based on higher graduations and transfers, makes our Students First approach even more essential.

Balancing our budget is also crucial to addressing income inequality and adding and expanding classes that will close historic gaps and help more African American, Latinx and API students graduate. Already, City College’s Fall 2019 class schedule places an emphasis on courses like ESL, math, and biology, while expanding curriculum in high-demand fields like healthcare, computer science, and engineering to prepare all students for employment after graduation. We’re also adding four new Social Justice Associate of Arts for Transfer – in Ethnic Studies; Feminist, Queer and Trans Studies; Latin American and Latina/o Studies; and Labor ad Community Studies.

Building a sustainable budget involved carefully analyzing enrollment history and degree completion data, in order to determine the courses that matter most to student success, and to dedicate resources to these key areas. Our efforts involved consultation and input from academic deans, department chairs, and our Office of Instruction. As a result, we have a course schedule that exceeds the enrollment demand from last Fall, with nearly 9,000 remaining seats for enrollment growth.

This collaborative, data-driven approach enables us to help more students succeed, while shrinking what was once an almost $50 million deficit. Addressing long-standing budget issues isn’t easy and does not always happen without some pain and tough choices, but a balanced budget is a victory for inclusion. Putting City College on the road to strong and lasting fiscal health will enable us to make long-term commitments to all the students of San Francisco.

City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees

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