Suppor­ters rally to save City College

The clock is ticking on City College of San Francisco, which currently serves 85,000 students and provides a crucial bridge for students looking to transfer to four-year colleges.

The venerated City institution may be forced to close if it doesn’t meet a March 15 deadline for improvement.

Faculty, staff and students who joined together to rescue CCSF with the “Save CCSF Coalition” are holding a meeting tonight to inform San Franciscans of their cause and encourage them to join their movement.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Room 109 at City College’s Mission Campus at 1125 Valencia St..

Save CCSF is fighting the school administration on certain changes, such as a proposal to replace department chairs with deans and reassign the chairs to full-time teaching positions.

Departments would also be consolidated, all of which concerns CCSF chemistry professor and coalition organizer Bob Price. Price told Bay City News:

“Everything’s going toward a top-down model. I think that’s a recipe for lowering the quality of the programs.”

The Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges placed CCSF last July on “show cause” status, citing problems with 14 different aspects of the school. KTVU reported in January that those problems include too many campuses and excessive non-instructional faculty costs. You can read the ACCJC’s full evaluation here.

The Accrediting Commission set the March deadline, by which CCSF officials must file a report showing they are taking solid steps toward improvement. CCSF writes on an accreditation FAQ page on the school website:

“We take responsibility for addressing, in a timely and comprehensive manner, the 14 recommendations concerning fiscal and structural issues contained in the Commission’s report. …We are doing everything we can to remedy the issues raised by the Commission.”

On June 10, the commission will issue a ruling on the school’s fate.

If improvement has been shown, CCSF lives to see another day.

If not, it will lose access to federal aids and grants, which will either force it to close or be taken over by another college district (the latter happened, most recently, to Compton College in 2006).

The loss of a valuable public education institution – and an overall decline in available quality options — would be disastrous for many local high school students.

Maureen Carew, director of a program that helps graduating San Francisco Unified School District seniors transition to college, told Golden Gate Xpress:

“If you’re a senior in one of San Francisco’s (19) high schools, odds are you’re going to City College or SF State.”

Carew explained the odds: Approximately one in four SFUSD’s graduating high school seniors sign up for CCSF every year, versus one in ten for San Francisco State.

An impacted state school like SF State is not in any position to absorb the extra students who might not be able to attend CCSF if it loses accreditation.

City College’s fate is yet another saga in the increasingly urgent situation that is California public education. Price said:

“Education is needed now more than ever. We shouldn’t be cutting things.”

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