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News Update

California community college chancellor still mulling future for embattled Oakland-based district

The chancellor overseeing California’s 116 community colleges is still contemplating whether a state takeover of the Peralta Community College District is necessary.

Eloy Ortiz Oakley, the systemwide chancellor, said during a statewide Board of Governors meeting Tuesday that he is still “monitoring the situation” at Peralta. The district includes four colleges in the East Bay: Laney College and Merritt College in Oakland, Berkeley City College and the College of Alameda.

Oakley said it would be necessary to take over Peralta “if the district and its campuses are on the verge of losing their accreditation, or if they are on the verge of not being able to meet their fiscal obligations.”

He added: “And so we are monitoring both and working with all of the partner organizations that share the responsibility to make sure that Peralta is serving its students.”

All four colleges were put on probation last year by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

Oakley has faced a number of calls to intervene at the district, including from former Peralta chancellors, Oakland’s NAACP chapter and former and current Peralta trustees. They have called on Oakley to appoint a special trustee, who would have far-reaching powers at Peralta, EdSource has reported.

Last fall, Oakley’s office indicated that he would decide by this month whether to appoint a special trustee at Peralta. He announced Tuesday that he won’t announce his decision on Peralta until March at the earliest.

The Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), a state-funded agency that provides financial oversight of K-12 and community college districts, has also encouraged Oakley to increase his office’s oversight of the district.