Tonight was the inaugural meeting of the new joint committee comprised of representatives from SFUSD and the City College District. Much of the two-plus-hourlong meeting was consumed by a discussion of the plan to locate a new Gateway to College program at the college district’s Southeast campus. Though City College will administer and house the program, it will serve students who have dropped out of SFUSD programs and assist them in earning a high school diploma, concurrent with college credit. Our participation is required because we must apply for waivers from the state allowing “our” students to attend City College; the waivers allow the average daily attendance money generated by these returning students to be passed through to City College to help fund the program.
There has been some opposition to the plan over the issue of the location — some advocates feel there are not enough supports and services in place at the Southeast campus to fully support this group of students, who have, we all agree, been failed again and again. Tonight Chancellor Don Griffin assured the committee that the necessary supports will be in place, and pledged to move the program to another site if it is not successful at the Southeast campus. In addition, representatives of the Mayor’s Communities of Opportunity program have pledged to provide bridge funding and other supports to make sure the program is ready and welcoming to students when they arrive August 15. Many community representatives were also on hand to advocate in favor of the plan.
In the end, members of both Boards agreed this plan should go forward at the Southeast campus, but pledged to hold the program accountable for keeping promises to this vulnerable group.
The next meeting of the new committee will occur in September.