ccsf.jpgCity College of San Francisco is in dire fiscal straits and needs the help of voters on a parcel tax measure in November’s election, supporters of the proposal said at a rally Tuesday.

Dozens of people gathered outside City Hall this afternoon in support of Proposition A, a $79 parcel tax that would provide $14 million to City College for each of the next eight years.

Budget cuts from the state level have caused City College to reduce its budget by about $50 million in the past three years alone, including cutting 700 classes from the semester that just started, according to John Rizzo, president of the school’s Board of Trustees.

“This is not sustainable,” Rizzo said. “We cannot do this to our students.”

He said the funding from Prop A would not solve the school’s budget problems “but gives us a good way toward that.”

City College “is an amazing institution that has been here 77 years,” said Shanell Williams, president of the Associated Student Council for the school’s Ocean Campus.

“Access and affordability are not negotiable.”

Tim Henderson was one of the students who has benefited from City College, saying he recently got his GED via the school.

“It’s given me a way to build myself in a way I didn’t know I could,” Henderson said.

Several members of the city’s Board of Supervisors also attended today’s rally and said nearly all of the city’s political establishment is behind the proposal.

“City College is the heart of the city,” Supervisor Eric Mar said.

“It really helps people have a better life.”

The proposition will require approval of two-thirds of the city’s voters to pass.

Besides its budgetary woes, City College is also facing issues over its accreditation. The school was placed on “show cause” status in July by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, which cited problems with the school’s governing structure, facilities and other areas.

City College is required to submit a report to the commission by March 15, 2013, showing that it is addressing the problems.

More information about the accreditation issue is available on the school’s website at

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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