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L.A. Community College District chancellor announces resignation

Daniel LaVista announced Tuesday that he will resign his post as chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District, the nation’s largest, and with a poor record of student completion and budget problems, one of its most challenged.

LaVista made his announcement in a district-wide Chancellor's Update email extolling the progress made in toughening accountability and bringing better coordination to the nine-campus district but acknowledging the challenges that lie ahead.

“Even with a healthier FY14 budget proposed for the state’s community colleges, there are no quick fixes to increasing student success, offering a stimulating and accessible academic experience, addressing accreditation issues, providing a satisfying workplace, reinforcing shared governance and continuing responsible completion of the building program,” LaVista wrote. “The chancellor who leads this remarkable albeit challenging district must take the long view and make a long-term commitment, something I’m unable to do.”

LaVista was not available to comment. In the memo, he said he would pursue “other opportunities that combine my professional and family interests.” His resignation is effective June 30, giving the Board of Trustees time to recruit a new or interim chief, he said.

LaVista became chancellor in August 2010. He replaced interim Chancellor Tyree Wieder, who took over after the June 2009 departure of former Chancellor Marshall Drummond. A native of upstate New York, LaVista previously served as executive director of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, as well as president of two community colleges in Illinois.

The Los Angeles district serves about 240,000 students each year but, like other districts, has been hard hit by state funding cuts and slashed course offerings.

A 2011 Times investigation uncovered poor planning, questionable spending and other flaws in a $6-billion campus rebuilding project and last year two campuses were placed on academic probation.

[For the record, Feb. 19, 8 p.m.: An earlier headline on this post said Daniel LaVista was announcing his retirement.]

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-- Carla Rivera

 
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