Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill unanimously supported by both the Senate and Assembly that seeks to make the accreditation system for California's 112 community colleges more transparent.
On Wednesday, Brown signed Assembly Bill 1942, which will require an accrediting agency to report accreditation decisions to the Legislature, such as last summer's vote by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges to revoke City College of San Francisco's accreditation.
CCSF's July 31 deadline for accreditation revocation was rescinded after the school applied for restoration status. The college remains open and fully accredited.
AB 1942 was authored by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, and co-authored by San Francisco's Democratic assemblymen Tom Ammiano and Phil Ting.
Per the bill, policy changes for the agency that would affect the accreditation process or status of a community college need to be reported biannually as well.
Additionally, the Board of Governors will be required to review the accreditation status of community colleges within a particular district to determine if the district is meeting the minimum conditions mandated by the board for accreditation.
The bill unanimously passed both houses of the Legislature - in the Senate on Aug. 13 and in the Assembly on Aug. 18.
"In signing my AB 1942, Governor Brown has reinforced the importance of having a transparent and fair accreditation process for community colleges in California," Bonta said in a statement. "These new requirements will help guarantee access to affordable, high-quality education for millions of California students."
ACCJC officials have said the agency's processes already provide transparency beyond what is required by law and regulations, yet it welcomes the Legislature's increased involvement in the state's community colleges.
"We hope the process of deliberation on this bill and the provision of regular notifications concerning accreditation actions will help the Legislature as it works with the State Chancellor's Office to find ways to support California community colleges," Dr. Steven Kinsella, ACCJC chair, and Sherrill Amador, ACCJC past chair, wrote in a statement.
Meanwhile, ACCJC will decide whether to grant restoration status to CCSF no later than January. The policy would give CCSF two more years to reach full compliance with accrediting standards, and CCSF would remain accredited and open during that time.
Separately, a lawsuit between The City and ACCJC is scheduled to go to trial in October. A judge previously issued an injunction blocking ACCJC from revoking CCSF's accreditation until the trial's conclusion.
Losing accreditation would effectively force CCSF to close.