City College will appeal

"City College neither ignored nor fought ACCJC's recommendations, as many people wish we had."

OPINION City College will appeal last week's decision by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) to revoke City College's accreditation.

The reason for the appeal is simple: Most of what ACCJC asked for has been accomplished, and the rest is well on its way towards completion within a year.

First, the San Francisco City College district is financially secure. This is not a district that is close to fiscal collapse. This year's audit was "clean," and the budget is balanced, thanks to multiple cost-saving reorganizations, large spending cuts, reforms in practices, and the passage of Propositions A and 30. City College also has a healthy reserve fund well above that of state requirements. City College is even squirreling away money for a special "Ninth year" fund in the event that voters don't reapprove Prop A when it expires 8 years from now.

The City College budget also increases spending in areas that ACCJC wanted: there is nearly $3 million per year for new technology and building maintenance, both long deferred through the years of radical state funding cuts. City College is also paying money towards the unpaid liability in retiree health benefits. The City of San Francisco also has this kind of liability — to the tune of $4.4 billion — but has so far not come up with a plan to deal with it. City College, on the other hand, has a plan and the funds to enact it.

City College has also cut costs by millions of dollars. There have been layoffs and furloughs, and salary cuts. For instance, faculty members are earning 5 percent less than they did in 2007. Department chairs are earning less, and the Board of Trustees just cut administrators salaries. Streamlined operations have resulted in other savings.

Governance is another area where City College has made major changes. There have been five major management overhauls to streamline bureaucracy, increase efficiency and speed the carrying out of decisions. And many administrators have been replaced. Any one of these overhauls could ordinarily have taken a year each to implement. There were all done in a matter of months.

For instance, the job description of every dean's position was completely rewritten; some posts disappeared, and new ones were created. Every dean had to reapply for a job, and many did not return. The same is true for other management positions.

City College also replaced a decades-old department chair structure with a system that costs less and has simpler lines of authority. And last fall, the Board of Trustees acted to completely restructure the Participatory Governance system. This is a state-mandated system of getting input from faculty and staff into management decisions. Over 40 committees were dissolved and replaced with a more streamlined system.

The faculty and staff also worked hard in fixing problems identified by ACCJC, particularly in the areas of planning. One of the most important of these is in the collection of Student Learning Outcome data -– a measure of how well students do. Faculty filed thousands of reports in order to fulfill this requirement, a truly enormous amount of work. The collected data will then be used to improve courses next year. This cycle of planning, data collection, and improvement are the basis of ongoing reform effort that takes a year at minimum to prove that it's working. There is a lot more work to be done in this area. It will take another year to complete — if City College is given the time.

Not everyone at the college agrees with all of the changes that were made. People have the right to express their views, and indeed, we want the internal experts to speak up and give their best advice. And given the speed and monumental scope of the changes, it is very likely that these changes have flaws and that improvements can be made.


Far and fast before he manages to find another organization to run into the ground.

He screwed up the Sierra Club by turning it into a NIMBY organization papering our streets with liter at election time and clinging to outdated, silly and confrontational battles.

Then he demonstrated a complete lack of leadership by doing absolutely NOTHING to avert disaster at City College until forced to and dragged his heels and worked to undermine the changes that were required.

Now he wants to take credit for the changes he fought against and be allowed to continue on as if he was really leading the way out of this mess.

Progressives should recognize that this guy is just taking up space that could be better used by someone who might actually lead the movement one day.

Posted by Community College Graduate on Jul. 10, 2013 @ 9:09 am

It is too late ! Read the latest draft report from FCMAT.

"Lack of skilled staff at all levels

Unauthorized wage rate changes

Staff payroll overpayments

No verification of vacation and sick time

No one assigned to position control

Employee benefits not re-confirmed

Data system overly-customized"

CCSF is dying if not already dead. One more year of remedy cannot undo 20 years of damage.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 10, 2013 @ 11:16 am

seiously? Look at the Federal Government or any organization for that matter and find anyone doing a perfect job. These are small things with simple fixes. You will not dance on CCSF's grave yet.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 10, 2013 @ 1:08 pm

But you have to start somewhere so why not start with the most egregious abuses?

Posted by anon on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 11:27 am

Better to close it quickly and start over.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 15, 2013 @ 3:57 am

Anyone who says it would be better for City College to lose accreditation is either insane or doesn't know what they're talking about.

And I'm not convinced by John Rizzo, either. We need to hear about elevating contracts with Administration as a higher priority. That's what the ACCJC wants City College to do. We need to hear more about what CCSF is now doing to hire a team of badass administrators to work with you and the incoming state trustee. You should be on that more than anything while you still can. You've only got a few weeks left to do the hiring before he does!" Get on it.

They don't want you cutting anyone's salaries either. Increase salaries to faculty and staff. They're the ones who are VOLUNTEERING to do all the work of accreditation when it should be the ENTIRE institution - especially administration.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 16, 2013 @ 8:03 pm

It's a flawed entity and it's staff have an entitlement culture.

Start over and cut it loose.

Posted by anon on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 11:29 am

Anyone who votes for an incumbent for CCSF Trustee is a fool. and a tool.
We need all new trustees, who will demand professional administration. Some instructors may be very good, but none of the administrators or trustees have demonstrated such.

Posted by Richmondman on Jul. 25, 2013 @ 10:05 am

Close it down already.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 25, 2013 @ 11:22 pm

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