By Luke Wrin Piper
Peralta Community College District Acting Chancellor Frances White and Board of Trustees President Julina Bonilla will appear before the California Community Colleges Board of Governors Monday in Riverside to discuss the fiscal health of the district.
The meeting comes in the wake of a report compiled by the state’s Financial Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) which characterized Peralta as having an “excessively high” risk of financial insolvency, potentially resulting in an emergency takeover by the state.
The 109-page report includes a Fiscal Health Risk Analysis which assigns an overall score for the financial vulnerability of a district. Higher scores indicate higher risk of financial instability, with anything above 40 percent amounting to a high risk of insolvency and potential state receivership. Peralta’s score was 69.9 percent.
In a July 25 report by the San Francisco Chronicle, FCMAT CEO Mike Fine explained that Peralta is at “by far the highest risk” for insolvency — more so than any other school district in the state, including K-12 districts.
During the July 15 California Board of Governors meeting, Chancellor Eloy Oakley addressed the FCMAT findings by saying, “This report is going to consume our time in the coming year. There are some serious concerns at Peralta that we are going to be faced with.”
The FCMAT report made the point that the long-term financial health of Peralta will depend on increasing enrollment, as well as counts of low-income students and student outcomes.
White and Bonilla will also be discussing the District’s search for a permanent chancellor, according to Monday’s agenda. In a September 12 press release, Peralta named Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud, formerly President of Skyline College, and Dr. Bryan Reece, previously President of Norco College, as the final two candidates for the position.
Public forums will be held Wednesday, September 18 at all four campuses and the district office in which the candidates will hear the concerns and desires of the Peralta community. The forums are open to the public.
Luke Wrin Piper is a reporter for the Laney Tower.