With City College of San Francisco facing reduced enrollment as it struggles to maintain its accreditation status, a state assemblyman has proposed legislation that could help stabilize the school’s funding.

Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, last week introduced Assembly Bill 1199, which will create a budgeting formula to account for enrollment decreases at community colleges that are under severe accreditation sanctions.

City College last July was placed on “show cause” status by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, which identified more than a dozen problems with the school, including an excessive number of campuses and high non-instructional faculty costs.

The school has seen its enrollment drop by more than 2,000 full-time students in the past year, impacting the amount of funding it is eligible to receive from the state.

State funding is based in part on enrollment numbers, but under the formula set up by the new legislation, City College or other community colleges under sanctions would be given a temporary reprieve for failing to achieve their enrollment targets, Fong said.

Fong joined two other assemblymen and City College faculty and students outside of San Francisco City Hall Thursday to laud the legislation and speak out against the potential closure of the school.

“We stand here together united to do everything in our power to not let this happen,” Fong said.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, said the legislation “will give us some breathing room” as City College works to remedy the concerns identified by the accrediting commission.

The school has to file a report by March 15 addressing how it is resolving the problems. The City College board of trustees is meeting tonight and will consider whether to approve the report.

Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said City College serves as “the backbone of our economy” by providing education to students in a variety of fields and to immigrants learning English to better succeed in society.

“City College is too important to fail,” Ting said.

City College staff and students also planned a protest Thursday evening in advance of the board of trustees meeting.

The group planned to create a “human billboard” by holding signs accusing the school’s administration of misusing funding and calling for the reversal of recent cuts.

Report and photo (above) of sign with unfortunate misspelling from Thursday’s event: Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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