CCSF will not be closing
City College of San Francisco is not shutting down—far from it—despite the severity of the ACCJC’s report and sanctions. Full of praise for our work on behalf of students, the accreditation report points to a series of issues that CCSF must address on a very tight timeline in order to retain our accredited status. Many of these items were well underway before the accreditation report came out earlier this month. (Still haven’t read it? For a quick sense of the Accreditation Report, start here, with a two-page overview we’ve compiled. Comprehensive CCSF links are here.)
Literally hundreds of CCSF staff are working hard right now in meetings, trainings, and subcommittees to address these concerns precisely in order to “right the ship” where it is needed and keep the accreditation our students and College deserve. As you have heard from District updates, there are task forces and subcommittees that have been set up to determine how we will meet each of the accreditation recommendations. AFT 2121 leaders are participating on several of these committees and on the overall Accreditation Response Team, and will communicate with faculty as plans develop.
We are also galvanizing support for CCSF by helping bring together a coalition of students, community, and CCSF employees at townhall action meetings to discuss the crisis and to develop an action plan for community support. The response has been tremendous; more than 350 turned out for the July 9 townhall at the LGBT Center—so many that there was not even standing room available and some were stuck outside. Please join us for the next townhall, tonight, Tuesday, July 24, 6pm–8pm, at SEIU 1021, 350 Rhode Island (entrance is on Kansas near 17th).
Long before release of the accreditation report, AFT 2121 was working to bring new revenues to City College: we have all been truly concerned about the severity of the state cuts and the fiscal situation it has put the District in for several years running. AFT 2121 is working in collaboration with SEIU 1021 to lead the campaign for the CCSF parcel tax, which will be on the November 6 ballot in San Francisco. Together with the exhaustive on-going work to reduce expenditures at CCSF, the parcel tax would mitigate the impact of the cumulative $27–$30 million loss in State funding and allow City College to continue to provide the programs and services that our community expects and relies on. Without it, CCSF will be a very different, i.e. drastically downsized, institution. Check out the campaign’s newly launched website.
We will ensure that our message and the value of the service we provide to students gets out to the public. The College is making changes in response to the Accreditation Report to improve its organization, planning, and decision-making processes. Moreover, students and CCSF staff have made huge sacrifices in recent years, including program cuts, loss of classes, layoffs, furloughs, and salary givebacks, in order to close the budget deficits. The College will survive, but we need new revenue to make up for some of the massive cuts in State funding if we are to maintain our mission as a Community College, serving the entire San Francisco community with our irreplaceable focus on low-income and underrepresented students for whom we are the sole option.
Faculty will be asked to ratify a significant salary giveback right after semester start-up this August in order to help close this year’s CCSF budget deficit. In addition to reductions in class offerings and support services, AFT 2121 has tentatively agreed to a 2.85% salary giveback for the 2012/13 academic year. This is one piece of the adopted preliminary budget for fiscal year 2012-13 that creates a balanced budget in which all college employees have given back significantly. For more information about the tentative agreement, including its impact on health care premiums. All constituent groups at CCSF have stepped up in the spirit of shared sacrifice to meet this challenge: classified, administrators, skilled trades, and others. (In November, we hope that San Francisco will decide that it’s time for property owners to also share some of that sacrifice in order to keep our doors open.)
We all need to hit the ground running on Flex Day. Accreditation, the budget deficit, and our August 21-24 contract ratification vote, plus the critical November election with the CCSF Parcel Tax— these are vital issues for all who care about and depend on City College for their education and their livelihoods. We see these issues as a collective challenge to us as a college community and the communities we serve, and we ask you to turn that challenge into an opportunity: It will take a concerted effort to get through this next period, and we can do it together, for the sake of City College of San Francisco.
Let students and the community know our doors are open; let them know we are going to ensure they stay open. Let them know they can help:
- Contact students—current and former—and share the I Am City College photo blog with them. Ask them to tell their own stories. And share them. bit.ly/iamcitycollege
- Join the campaign to pass the parcel tax and to win in November overall, including the merged, statewide “Tax the Top” measure, 30, that will protect CCSF from an additional $10 million in cuts and perhaps bring in as much as $1.5 million more.
Sign (and get others to sign) this petition to defend the broad mission of our college.
And of course: stay informed, communicate with us, follow the process, and see if you can participate in a subcommittee; in particular, watch for emails from the District and from the Academic Senate with updates and information about meetings and progress regarding CCSF’s internal process and progress in responding to the ACCJC’s recommendations. Keep track here.