The special trustee tasked last summer with saving City College of San Francisco from losing its accreditation has been given another year to reach that goal, but talks of restoring the school's elected board of trustees will resume before the end of the year.
To applause from dozens of CCSF faculty, students and supporters at the California Community Colleges Board of Governors meeting Monday, California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris recommended amending a resolution that would authorize him to reinstate CCSF Special Trustee Robert Agrella, with future consideration for restoring the board of trustees.
The resolution initially allowed Harris to reappoint Agrella to his post through July 8, 2015. But after hearing from nearly two dozen speakers urging local control for CCSF, Harris proposed that at the board's November meeting, staffers present a report that explores the return to power for the school's elected board.
“I hear loud and clear the feedback we received today,” Harris said. “It's reasonable over the next couple of months … for us to work with the college on a timeline, and come back with a report on what that timeline might look like at [the board's] November meeting.”
Board members generally supported the amendment and unanimously approved the resolution, with two abstentions.
“The difference between what it was last year and now is a much more positive position,” board President Manuel Baca said of CCSF's situation. “The perspective that many of us had was that City College was really in danger of losing its accreditation. Today, I think it's with a more optimistic but cautious view that we'll be able to get through this.”
Geoffrey Baum, the board's vice president, agreed that there is now a “light at the end of the tunnel” for CCSF.
“There are changes that need to be made that have come to light out of this whole process, but I support the recommendation by the chancellor that we will come back with a specific plan to restore the board,” Baum said.Agrella was first placed in the role of special trustee last summer when the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges voted to strip CCSF of its accreditation unless it met commission requirements. The decision was to be effective at the end of this month.
Since then, Agrella and new CCSF Chancellor Art Tyler have helped the school reach “substantial compliance with accreditation standards,” said Paul Feist, the state Chancellor's Office spokesman.
Meanwhile, multiple barriers prevent CCSF's impending accreditation loss. Last month, an appeals panel ruled that the commission must conduct another assessment of the school. The ACCJC also offered a new policy that could give CCSF two more years to come into compliance with accrediting standards.
Additionally, an injunction barring CCSF's accreditation loss stands due to an upcoming trial between The City and the ACCJC. A motion filed by the commission to halt proceedings in the case indefinitely will be heard July 16.
Losing accreditation would effectively force CCSF to close.