City College of San Francisco is officially on the hunt for a new chancellor as the man in the role for the last three years, Mark Rocha, submits his resignation.
Rocha was placed on paid administrative leave earlier this week for undisclosed reasons, as the Examiner reported. And now Rocha, whose tenure has not been without controversy, is officially out, as KPIX reports. He'll receive a severance including a year's salary, valued at $340,481, plus ongoing health benefits.
Rocha was in the news back in December as City College began slashing classes from its roster in a cost-saving measure, including some well loved free classes for older adults. This led to a lot of emails of complaint sent to the mayor and Board of Supervisors, and a few weeks later the city stepped in to restore funding for 17 of the cut classes — something that Rocha objected to. The Board of Supes was also looking into other ways to fund more classes, after faculty at City College were also upset by planned cuts.
But City College remains in a financial precarious situation, and it's not clear whether the City College board objected to Rocha's approach to the problem, or vice-versa. City College Board of Trustees President Shanell Williams announced Rocha's leave of absence on Monday calling it a "confidential personnel matter," and declining to comment further to the Examiner. City College Trustee John Rizzo told the paper that the decision to place Rocha on leave came in a closed-door session of the board which was characterized as a performance review of the chancellor.
Spokespeople for the college have also stayed mum, but a statement given by Rocha to KPIX said that this is "the right time to make his family a priority."
Controversy followed Rocha into his job as chancellor, as the Ingleside Light reports, due to his past work at Pasadena City College. The LA Times reported on his 2014 departure from the school referring to his "rocky tenure" there, and in leaving that role Rocha said, "It’s time for me to spend more time with my family and return to my passion for teaching and writing."
Full-time enrollment has dropped at both schools over the last decade, and CCSF now has 22,000 fewer full-time students than it had ten years ago — which means $95 million less funding per year from the state. And from the sound of it, tension with faculty over major decisions was also a common theme of his tenures at the two public colleges.
City College emerged from an accreditation crisis in recent years, which was brought on partly by its financial instability, and it is facing down another accreditation review soon.
Previously: Mayor, Supervisors Reach Free City College Deal