CCSF leaders try to help the school stay open 

California community college leaders visited City College of San Francisco on Monday to voice their support and offer consultation as the school tries to meet numerous requirements to avoid closure.

Jack Scott, California Community Colleges chancellor, said CCSF has the spirit and collaboration to overcome the difficulties in the next few months, but stressed how important it is for the school to come out on top.

“It will be a disaster if CCSF loses its accreditation,” Scott told the school’s board of trustees. “It’s the last thing we want to see happen. You’d either have to be taken over by another college or you’d have a mass exodus of students.”

In July, City College was given a scathing report from the Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges after it found numerous deficiencies with governance, student services and outcomes, and facilities and technology. The commission issued 14 recommendations to address the problems.

As a result of the findings, City College’s accreditation was given a “show cause” rating, the worst in the evaluation scale.

Show cause is ordered when “substantial noncompliance” is found at an institution.

City College has until Oct. 15 to show that it’s making progress on the 14 recommendations. Then by March 15, a closure plan and show cause report explaining how deficiencies have been corrected must be submitted. Finally, by next June the college needs to prove why its accreditation should not be withdrawn.

CCSF is the largest community college of the 112 in the state system, serving 90,000 students.  The last time a community college actually lost its accreditation was Compton College in 2005 for alleged financial mismanagement. That school has still not obtained accreditation and was absorbed by nearby El Camino College, Scott said.

“Compton College was a special case,” he said. “I have every belief City College of San Francisco will follow the path of Solano and Diablo Valley colleges.”

Solano and Diablo Valley also received show cause ratings in 2009, but successfully followed the commission’s recommendations. College of the Redwoods in Eureka and Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo also received a show cause this year.

The state chancellor came to San Francisco on Monday for a special board retreat, which is an extended period for trustees to discuss items important to the college. No votes are taken.

At least a dozen protesters voiced their anger outside the meeting, carrying signs and banners that said “save ccsf” and “city college of SF belongs to the people.”

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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