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New beginning for Compton College


The Compton Community College District, which has been managed by a state-appointed special trustee since it lost its accreditation more than a decade ago, this week regained the authority to govern itself.

The college now will be run once again by its own elected board of trustees.

“Returning control of Compton Community College District to the elected board of trustees has been a top priority of ours,” said Cecilia V. Estolano, president of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors.

“We will do everything in our power to help Compton achieve that next milestone of accreditation and full independence.”

State legislators stripped the board of its power after the discovery of serious administrative failures and widespread corruption on campus. In 2006, the college became a satellite campus of Torrance’s El Camino College.

A state Assembly bill laid out the scenario by which Compton College could once again be run by its own board, after the governor, the director of the state Department of Finance and the state chancellor agreed that the district had met a comprehensive list of requirements for two straight years, the Los Angeles Times reported.

But even with control reverting back to the board, the state-appointed trustee will stay on to assist, with the power to take that control away again, officials told The Times.

“This is a sign of remarkable progress, and we congratulate faculty, staff, administrators, students and the community on the hard work that has led to this,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “It is an important step toward the ultimate goal of seeing that Compton College once again operates as an accredited institution under the sole control of Compton Community College District.”

Compton College’s troubled history began to draw major attention in May 2004, when the state took over the college in an effort to restore it to financial solvency. The takeover followed an investigation by the state chancellor’s office amid concerns about the school’s accounting practices. Federal and local investigations looked into  possible corruption.

By June 2005, the accrediting commission had begun the process of revoking  the college’s accreditation. In October that year, a former Compton College trustee pleaded guilty to siphoning more than $1 million in public funds to himself and his family members via a dummy organization that enrolled people in sham college courses, according to The Times.