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Fri Jul 26, 2019, 05:18 AM

'High risk of insolvency' for troubled Peralta Community College District

The Peralta Community College District of 50,000 students at four East Bay campuses is at high risk of insolvency after years of mismanagement that had administrators regularly breaking their own rules, says a dire new fiscal review.

The dereliction leaves the district ripe for fraud thanks to poor internal controls, says the report from the state’s Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team, which helps guide public schools and colleges out of financial calamity.

It’s been no secret that the Peralta district — with Laney and Merritt colleges in Oakland, Berkeley City College and the College of Alameda — has been on the rocks. But until this year, Peralta’s leaders appeared to look the other way. The Board of Trustees came close to censuring a trustee in November who spoke out about the problems, claiming he had no legal right to do so. Last summer, a law firm the administration hired to investigate a whistle-blower’s allegations of mismanagement found no hint of wrongdoing, and district officials took no further action.

But after election day in November, the majority on the Board of Trustees shifted. And in February, Chancellor Jowel Laguerre resigned under pressure. He had led Peralta since 2015. A month before Laguerre’s departure, under pressure from auditors, the accreditation agency and the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, he and the trustees asked the state to bring in the crisis team.

Read more: https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/High-risk-of-insolvency-for-troubled-14145862.php?psid=eiqEc

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