By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Mar 15, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO – Hundreds of people protested at city hall on Thursday, demanding that officials save from closure the San Francisco City College, the state’s biggest public school.

City College is under pressure to show the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges that it could address 14 serious management and fiscal problems, which include claims of misappropriation of funds and overpaid management staff. If it fails to do so, it would lose its federal funding and may be forced to close its doors to over 90,000 students by the summer.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to access higher education. City College is a way for students to access that and it especially helps low-income students, immigrants who can’t afford to go to four-year universities.,” said Angela Madriaga, a member of the Save City College Coalition.

City College also faces budget woes. With its annual operating budget of $200 million, the school already lost $6 million in state funding last year.

Rodel Rodis, who served three terms as City College board president said there are ways to solve it.

“California is number one in the country in terms of spending for prisons and number 49 in terms of spending for education. What the people want is a fundamental change in the priorities of the state,” he said.

Budget cuts have resulted in fewer classes and staff layoffs affecting regular students and those with special needs who attend music, drama, health and computer classes.

For Filipino-American Armando Borjal, losing City College means losing a big part of his Filipino heritage. Besides providing Filipino Ethnic Studies on campus, City College has more Filipino students than any campus in the U.S. — 4,000 in its main campus alone.

“A lot of the classes at City College helped me learn about my being Filipino. In the past, I didn’t know what it meant to be Filipino,” he said.l

For now, the commission has required the school to put together a closure plan. A final decision on the fate of San Francisco’s City College is expected on June 10.

You may contact Henni Espinosa at for more information.

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