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Community Colleges' Reform Plan Delayed

July 09, 1998

A sweeping decentralization plan for the Los Angeles Community College District was stalled Wednesday because the chancellor of the California Community College system told the board of trustees it violated state law.

But despite yielding on the issue, two trustees lashed out at State Chancellor Tom Nussbaum, saying he was wrong to conclude the district acted outside the law by failing to consult with the District Academic Senate before settling on a reform plan.

"From Mr. Nussbaum's letter it is clear that he does not understand the workings of this district and the exciting educational reform we are undertaking," said Board President Elizabeth Garfield.

Only trustee Althea Baker agreed with Nussbaum, saying his letter was a reminder of the district's obligation to include those affected in the reform process. "You can't move forward by breaking the laws," she said.

The decentralization plan, which would grant more autonomy to the campuses at the expense of the central district headquarters, grew out of efforts to resolve the district's fiscal crisis and near bankruptcy in the last fiscal year.

Instead of approving the reform proposal Wednesday, as they had planned, board members said they will consult with the District Academic Senate over the summer, as Nussbaum suggested.

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