Three San Francisco lawmakers have joined the growing list of politicians voicing support for embattled City College of San Francisco.
State Sen. Mark Leno and assemblymen Phil Ting and Tom Ammiano this week introduced companion resolutions that urge the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges to extend its July 31 deadline for CCSF to come into compliance with accrediting requirements.
House Resolution 41 and Senate Resolution 47, which will be heard in each house next week, would put the California Legislature's support for CCSF on record for the first time.
"Over two years ago, the ACCJC laid out major recommendations to City College in order to maintain accreditation," Ting said in a joint statement with the other lawmakers. "The college has worked with the state chancellor's office and the city and county of San Francisco to complete nearly 95 percent of the recommendations."
Ting continued: "If the ACCJC revokes accreditation and puts over 80,000 students on the street without any viable alternative, we can only assume they have another agenda other than best interests of the students. With a little more time, I have complete confidence City College will be 100 percent compliant with the recommendations."
Ammiano called for the restoration of CCSF's elected board, which the California Community Colleges board of governors replaced last year with Special Trustee Robert Agrella.
"The very least that the ACCJC can do is give City College some breathing space after everyone there has worked double-time to make improvements," Ammiano said. "However, the thing we should be seeing is reform of the accreditation process and restoration of the college's elected board. We need to get back to making students and the city of San Francisco the priority at City College."
Said Leno: "It is critical that the commission allow the school an extension of time to complete the remaining 5 percent, which would help ensure that the state's largest community college district remains open and continues to provide a pathway to careers for tens of thousands of Bay Area residents. Since the ACCJC has the clear authority to allow more time, it is extremely important that it does just that."
The lawmakers hope to pass the resolutions before the commission's next meeting June 4-6.
The July 31 deadline for City College to come into compliance with accrediting requirements is essentially moot due to an impending October trial between the City Attorney's Office and the commission, which prompted a temporary injunction barring CCSF's accreditation loss until the trial is complete.
But potential state Legislature backing of CCSF adds a voice to the political pressure mounting against the ACCJC.
On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, released a letter from the U.S. Department of Education stating that the commission has the authority to give City College additional time to remedy its outstanding issues.
On the heels of that news, statements were also released Tuesday from the California Community Colleges board of governors and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, urging the commission to rescind CCSF's termination of accreditation.
"ACCJC representatives continue to confer with U.S. Department of Education officials on the Commission's authority in enforcing Department regulations," commission spokeswoman Eliza Chan wrote in an email to The San Francisco Examiner on Thursday. "The Commission will carefully consider the City College issue."
The commission has previously maintained that it cannot extend CCSF's July 31 deadline.
Losing accreditation would effectively force CCSF to close.