San Francisco Chronicle
Two days earlier, the state-appointed overseer of City College stunned the community college system’s Board of Governors by reporting that the college would not be able to fix all of its financial and managerial problems by the March 15 deadline set to retain accreditation, and blamed foot-dragging by labor unions and other factions at the college.
Now, Erik Skinner, an executive vice chancellor with the state community college chancellor’s office, traveled from Sacramento to urge City College trustees to redouble their efforts.
“It’s essential as you engage in this action that you do so with a sense of really what’s on the line here, which is the survival of your college,” Skinner told the trustees.
The vast college of 85,000 students learned in July that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges will yank its seal of approval and shut it down if it can’t quickly repair years of management problems that have led the college to live beyond its means.
Earlier this week, Bob Agrella, the college’s overseer, told state officials that many college employees erroneously believe the school is “too big to fail.”
March 15 is the deadline by which City College is expected to show the accrediting commission that it has repaired 14 serious deficiencies. The school must also submit a closure plan by that date, explaining what students should do if City College loses its accreditation. The accrediting commission will announce the college’s fate in June.
Agrella said Tuesday that he and interim Chancellor Thelma Scott-Skillman would seek an extension on grounds that City College has made substantial progress and just needs more time.
Skinner said he had no idea if such an extension would be granted. He told the trustees that the more work completed by the deadline, the better their chances.
“There are significant issues stuck on the collective bargaining table that are really fundamental to demonstrating the college’s sound fiscal planning, and having a strong (budget) plan,” Skinner said.
A lack of progress in those two areas would likely be “fatal flaws in terms of a push to maintain accreditation,” Skinner added. He praised the work done to date as “evidence that you can pull together.”
“I think we should all take heart in that,” Skinner said.
Trustee Rafael Mandelman found Skinner’s assessment “actually kind of hopeful.”