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School Takes Partner in Deal

Times Staff Writer

Compton Community College will give up its battle to keep its academic accreditation, and its operations will be taken over by a neighboring two-year school, officials disclosed Monday.

Classes for the fall term, which begin Aug. 28, will be provided at the Compton campus by Torrance’s El Camino College, officials said. The Torrance school also will handle administrative duties and support services for Compton, which has lost about half its enrollment over the last two years and now has between 5,000 and 6,000 students.

The deal to keep classes running at Compton was pushed forward by legislation signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on June 30 that authorized a $30-million emergency loan for the school. The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally (D-Compton), also cleared the way for another community college district to provide classes for Compton students if the Compton district lost its accreditation.

Compton College, under state control since May 2004, was fighting to overturn a decision by an oversight agency to strip its accreditation because of an array of financial and management problems. In recent days, however, Marshall Drummond, chancellor of California Community Colleges, decided to withdraw the appeal of the decision.

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Drummond could not be reached for comment late Monday. But Cheryl Fong, a spokeswoman for the chancellor’s office, said “we saw the writing on the wall” that the appeal would not succeed.

Meanwhile, Fong said, officials decided to bring in another community college district to assume operations at Compton to halt the hemorrhaging of employees and students. Compton has kept its single campus, on East Artesia Boulevard, open, but its administration has been overseen by a special trustee.

Fong said the arrangement with El Camino was still being negotiated, but plans are for the Torrance school to run the Compton school as a satellite campus for at least five years and perhaps as many as eight years. But, she said, “The goal is to help Compton during this partnership period to rebuild and recover and to eventually reapply for its own accreditation.”

As part of the plan to cut costs at Compton and salvage the school, officials in recent weeks have let go about 40 non-teaching staffers. In addition, an undetermined number of Compton’s 200 part-time instructors also will lose their jobs, although officials say the 100 full-time faculty will be retained.

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El Camino is one of the largest community colleges in the state. According to the most recent state figures, its enrollment is about 38,000.


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