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SCFT Vote of No Confidence in the State Chancellor

On May 6, 2019, the State Center Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1533,

passed a resolution of censure against California Community College Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley for failure to engage in collegial consultation with faculty stakeholder groups.

Citing a lack of transparency and failure to engage in collegial consultation with faculty stakeholder groups, the CFT approved a vote of no confidence in State Chancellor Eloy Oakley. Faculty leaders cited two reasons:

1. His establishment of a statewide online college, which competes with many of the online programs of California’s community colleges

2. The adoption of a new community college funding model, known as the Student Centered Funding Formula (SCFF), passed by the state legislature in 2018 as part of state budget negotiations

The new funding formula allocates about half of the dollars allocated to be split between providing districts with additional support for low-income students and rewarding districts based on the number of degrees and certificates they award.

Many educators in the state are not happy about it. Calling it “a hot mess,” Community College Council President Jim Mahler said “We fought it all the way – no legislators were in favor of it. The Governor, with input from State Chancellor Eloy Oakley, put it in place to get the budget passed.” According to Mahler, groups like the Lumina Foundation and the Gates Foundation were behind it. “Faculty stakeholders weren’t included.”

The formula is expected to have an impact on negotiations since districts won’t know how much money they’ll be receiving. Negotiators asking for pay raises will need to demonstrate how that will help meet the new state funding requirements. “They’re going to pay us on how well our students perform and they’re being treated as a commodity,” said Mahler. “If a District is not meeting the metrics by 2020, the District could lose as much as 40% of its funding.”

CFT has the following critiques of the new formula:

  • There is no recognition for the needs of life-long learners and programs for community members and retirees.

  • Performance outcomes could result in low-quality certificates/degrees -- “teaching to the test.”

  • It rewards full-time students without support for barriers that prevent full time schooling.

  • Student outcomes can fluctuate from year to year.

  • To properly serve students, colleges need more resources, not fewer.

  • Supplemental and Student Success allocations would best serve students if they were in addition to the base, not taken from it.

  • A disadvantaged student who requires the expenditure of more dollars could conceivably generate fewer dollars.

  • Mahler noted that the only benefit he can see in the new formula is the ‘hold harmless’ provision that kept Districts with declining enrollments from getting cut for three years.

Leaders of all of the California Community College faculty organizations met in Sacramento on April 2nd to strategize. “Performance-Based Funding has failed in other states, but it looks like we will be stuck with it at least for 2019-20,” said John McDowell, Guild Director of Government Relations. The leadership group came up with some ideas to replace the performance metrics:

  • Hire more FT faculty and making progress on the 75/25% ratio;

  • Hire more counselors to improve the counselor/student ratio;

  • Fund office hours for all adjuncts; and

  • Increase the diversity of faculty to better reflect our student populations.

A representative of the group plans to meet with the Governor’s staff and propose these goals to replace the complex performance metrics. Efforts will continue to convince legislators, Department of Finance, staff and others to terminate both SCFF and eliminate the online college and reallocate the $100 million to hiring faculty. “Short of eliminating SCFF, or modifying the 10%,” said McDowell. “We will urge the Governor to continue the halt on increasing the 10% performance portion of the funding formula indefinitely.”

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