SFGate. May 22, 2014.
State lawmakers have introduced a pair of resolutions urging the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges to give City College of San Franciscomore time to fix problems and avoid closure.
The state Senate and Assembly resolutions are intended to show that lawmakers want the accrediting commission to reconsider or rescind its termination decision, which the U.S. Department of Education told The Chronicle the commission has the authority to do.
"We feel the extension of the deadline is appropriate given the huge improvements they have shown," said Assemblyman Phil Ting, who authored HR41 with Assemblyman Tom Ammiano. Both are San Francisco Democrats.
State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, has introduced a similar measure - SR47 in the Senate. Both resolutions could be voted on as early as next week.
"The stakes are so high," Leno said. "Otherwise, 80,000 students suffer and 1,500 faculty members lose their jobs, and the $300 million the college generates for San Francisco will be lost. What purpose would it serve to allow that to happen over the reluctance to give the school a little more time?"
The commission has repeatedly said the U.S. Department of Education barred it from extending the July 31 deadline for revoking accreditation from the state's largest community college.
But on Monday, the Education Department confirmed with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that the commission can give City College more time to come into compliance.
The resolutions say City College has met nearly 95 percent of the 350 objectives laid out by the commission to meet accreditation, but that it does not appear full compliance is possible by the July 31 deadline.
A legal injunction bars the commission from revoking accreditation until a trial in October determines whether the commission acted properly when it first evaluated City College in 2012.
"For the (commission) to refuse to allow good-cause extension - even after this clarification from the Department of Education, even after all the monumental progress City College has made along its Roadmap to Success - would be destructive, irresponsible, and could be viewed as a political act," Pelosi said in a statement this week.
The potential closure of City College has created a tense situation for thousands of the school's employees and its 80,000 students. Without accreditation, City College would lose state funding and close. San Francisco's budget and legislative analyst found that City College generates more than $300 million annually in economic activity.
The commission cited City College for poor financial controls and governance structure and a lack of educational oversight.