Only On 7: Special trustee vows to save CCSF


Agrella spent more than 20 years as president of Santa Rosa Community College, so he's been through the accreditation process several times before. Although, CCSF is different; it's a much bigger institution with much bigger problems.

In his first on camera interview since becoming the special trustee, Agrella says City College of San Francisco will be saved.

"I'm confident that we can do it, or else I wouldn't have taken this job," he said.

His job comes with a title -- special trustee with extraordinary powers, which means he has the final word on any action taken to get the college its needed accreditation.

"I think I can move things much quicker," Agrella said. "I'll be much more involved in the operations of the organization than I was before."

He was given this power by the Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges after the school was not able to meet all its requirements needed to continue operating.

Its financial and managerial problems are why City College may lose its accreditation.

Agrella says through the years, the school has failed to adjust to the hardships brought on by state budget cuts. He adds that City College should have learned to be more efficient.

"Efficiencies take the revenues that you have and use it in a much more efficient manner," he said. "So a dollar goes further when you are more efficient with it."

Most salaries have already been cut again this year. The college is still in negotiations with the teachers union.

"What you try to do is work with your unions to get them to understand where our costs are, how cost-sharing can be implemented to a greater extent than what it is, that's the art of negotiating with the union."

Agrella has the power to close campuses and programs to save money. What he will not do is raise tuition, thanks to several propositions that have helped fund the college.

He says everyone knows what is needed. The hope is they can get it done in less than a year.

"We have the road map on how to do that," Agrella said. "We now have to make sure we follow that road map and get it done."

Agrella's salary is about $276,000. He'll probably serve until the college lands back on its feet.

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