Citing a list of financial concerns, the City College of San Francisco's Board of Trustees finalized 38 faculty layoffs during a virtual meeting this past Friday. Additionally, a dozen full-time faculty members that expected to retire this school year will now not be replaced.
Initially reported by KQED, the announcement of this massive wave of layoffs comes after years of financial turmoil and a string of budget crises at CCSF — including a near loss of its accreditation in 2015 over financial mismanagement. The school was back on the state's list for "enhanced monitoring" as of a year and a half ago, and a report was released in April that confirmed the college still faces a $33 million budget shortfall for the upcoming academic year. As a result, CCSF's board announced that it would cut 163 full-time faculty and at least 34 administrative positions this year.
During a Friday afternoon board meeting, school employees learned that 38 faculty positions would be immediately cut — with some of those employees having worked for the City College for years, if not decades. Also, at least 150 part-time staff are expected not to be hired back to the college because of a California higher-education rule that requires part-timers not to take the place of laid-off full-time faculty.
Over 360 faculty members of the school tuned in to the virtual City College Board meeting Friday afternoon. During the hours-long meeting, public comment mostly echoed the same sentiment: these layoffs and cutoffs are “gut-wrenching."
“Your decision today not only affects the 38 tenured instructors who will lose their jobs, but it also affects the dozens of part-timers who will make you unemployed," said Denise Selleck, who has taught English as second language classes at the school since 1991, per KQED. "And it will affect the thousands of students who will not be able to get the classes that they want and need."
These layoffs came after rallies descended on the campus last week; eleven faculty members at City College of San Francisco were arrested Thursday evening by San Francisco police in protest against the layoffs at CCSF's Ocean campus; SFPD noted that all those arrested were cited for “for failing to obey a peace officer and for being pedestrians outside of a crosswalk.”
On May Day — the day commemorating the historic struggles and gains made by workers and the labor movement, observed in many countries on May 1 — many faculty members and both full- and part-time staff marched at CCSF to protest the planned layoffs.
There are likely more layoffs to come before the school year ends. And if last year’s events are of any indication — when the college voted to suspend layoffs of some 160 faculty — the number could be substantial.
City College of San Francisco is now projected to still face a $5.8 million deficit for its 2025-2026 fiscal year, and its financial woes are not going away.
As SFist reported in October 2020, the school has about 22,000 fewer students enrolled than it had a decade ago — but during the ensuing pandemic year enrollment dropped even lower. This has led to a continued loss of funding from the state, and forced some controversial decisions to be made — much the way public school districts in San Francisco and Oakland are facing the need for difficult cuts and school closures to get out of the red, due to declining enrollment and consequent declining funding.
San Francisco voters passed Proposition A in March 2020, giving City College an $845 million bond to stay afloat. At this time last year, faculty members at the school accepted 9% pay cuts across the board, in order to avoid more devastating layoffs. But still, the numbers have continued to look grim with the school running deficits and racking up huge deferred maintenance costs — which, alone, Mission Local reported two years ago, were estimated at $450 million. The problems, clearly, are huge and structural, and the reluctance to cut programs or make significant layoffs since the accreditation crisis have deepened the budget tensions. So, expect more drama and protest to come, because no one likes a layoff except an accountant.