College of the Desert Owes the State Millions
PALM DESERT--College of the Desert is in serious trouble with the state's Chancellor. An audit just released reveals the community college lied about enrollment to get millions of dollars from the state.
$5.3 million dollars, that's how much College of the Desert owes the state. An audit by the California Community College Chancellors Office reveals officials improperly and knowingly claimed excess state funds by inflating enrollment numbers.
"The report indicates that the college president at the time was aware that this was being done," Vice Chancellor of Communications, Paul Feist told us on the phone.
Current President Joel Kinnamon took over in July. Since then he's been dealing with the past 7 years of what looks to be intentional reporting errors by top officials at the college.
"This is very serious allegations that I take seriously and it's important to me that the people of the community see College of the Desert as being good stewards of resources and doing what's in the best interest of the students and the Coachella Valley," President Kinnamon said.
Students here at College of the Desert have been feeling the impact of California's budget cuts for years. Many of them haven't been able to enroll in classes or their classes have been cut completely. Now the question is how will the $5.3 million dollars impact them.
"My commitment is to stay as far away from the classroom as we can and as we set our budget priorities over the next few years," President Kinnamon said.
According to the chancellors audit, there is sufficient evidence that cod's senior administrators may have knowingly committed a wrongful act, misrepresented the material facts, concealed material facts, and did not exercise managements fiduciary duty of loyalty and care.
Now the college will have to find a way to pay back the $5.3 million, without taking money from the classroom.