CCSF special trustee was mentor for school during failed accreditation try 

The special trustee appointed a year ago to offer City College of San Francisco guidance while it fought to keep its accreditation is now in charge of all decision-making.

On Monday, the California Community Colleges board of governors named Robert Agrella — a former president of Santa Rosa Junior College — to preside over any changes that need to happen at CCSF to keep it open.

The changes could include governance, finances, planning and student learning that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges found were out of compliance, said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris.

"It's going to be a lot of hard work," Harris told the board of governors on Monday at a meeting in Sacramento. A special trustee "doesn't mean additional time to address concerns. It doesn't lessen the requirements, it doesn't void collective bargaining agreements and it doesn't ensure an exit from the termination of accreditation."

CCSF trustees will still exist but will be powerless.

Last summer, Agrella was appointed as a mentor as CCSF worked to change its operations. He also had the ability to veto any decision the elected trustees made but never used that power.

Agrella was not available Monday for comment.

Both Agrella and CCSF face an uphill challenge to turn around the 85,000-student institution. Last week, the accrediting commission issued a ruling that it would revoke CCSF's accreditation July 31, 2014, after the college fulfilled only two of 14 recommendations it needed to address to stay open.

CCSF officials have already appealed the decision, a process that can take more than a year.

Last year, CCSF was placed on the most severe "show cause" sanction last summer and received 14 recommendations for improvement. The college had one year to show cause for why it should remain open.

The appointment of Agrella comes as students, faculty and some members of the board of governors question the accrediting commission's actions. Charges include the commission overstepping its boundaries and having potential conflicts of interest.

On Monday, the board of governors questioned whether bringing in a special trustee would help. Compton College was appointed a trustee in 2005 but later told by the accrediting commission that the trustee was one of the reasons the school would not retain its accreditation. That college closed in 2006.

Agrella also will need to help accelerate the search for a permanent chancellor at CCSF. And a closure report must also be resubmitted after the commission said CCSF's was not adequate.

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Monday, Oct 20, 2014

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