City College of San Francisco Teeters on Brink of Bankruptcy
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City College of San Francisco Teeters on Brink of Bankruptcy

October 2, 2012

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The City College of San Francisco may soon be filing for bankruptcy thanks to skyrocketing administrative costs, according to a recent report from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Sources say that the faculty of City College is nearly double the size of the faculty at similar schools, but the college has roughly the same students as similar institutions.

And City College, which is California’s largest public school, reportedly pays its teachers higher wages than those at other schools. So the larger faculty, coupled with higher costs, is threatening to sink the school’s finances.

But the biggest problem for City College has been its failure to adapt to drastic reductions in state funding for higher education. Sources cite the school’s policies of retaining all of its teachers, refusing to raise tuition, and allowing 23 paid vacation days for all faculty members are financially irresponsible in light of the state’s budget cuts.

In the words of the California Fiscal Crisis and Management Team, which helps state schools suffering from financial trouble, City College "has provided salary increases and generous benefits with no discernible means to pay for them."

Despite the harsh words from state auditors, John Rizzo, the president of the school’s board of trustees, recently told sources that he looked at the developments "very positively," and called the emergency team’s report a very "helpful tool."

But Rizzo and his colleagues now must scramble to implement serious changes. The school has until March 15 of next year to make broad structural changes to its administration in order to keep its accreditation.

This task, however, will reportedly prove to be very difficult, if not impossible, unless the school files bankruptcy before it is forced to close its doors.

One primary concern is that the school’s current budget depends on the passage of a proposed property tax that would raise more than $11 million for the school.

If this measure fails, however, the school will face a budget shortfall of several million dollars. Another challenge for City College is that, according to sources, no California college has ever filed for bankruptcy.

As a result, if the school files for bankruptcy, City College could establish a precedent for other struggling schools in the future.


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