- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A judge in San Francisco began hearing arguments on Monday over the future of one of California’s community colleges, which is facing the loss of its accreditation.

The city attorney’s office is challenging the decision by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges to revoke City College of San Francisco’s seal of approval. Losing accreditation would likely force the college to close because unaccredited schools are ineligible for state and federal funding.

The commission notified City College that it would lose its accreditation on July 31 for failing to meet quality assurance standards in areas such as financial management and instructional standards. Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow blocked the move until the trial that started Monday could be held to determine if the action was proper.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera alleges that the commission violated state fair business laws and federal rules governing how colleges are evaluated by basing its decision on political bias and conflicts of interest, not the college’s performance.

“We just want the commission to play by the rules and stop inventing rules as they go along,” Herrera told the San Francisco Chronicle (https://bit.ly/1rM5d9Z). “We have an institution that serves 79,000 students and is part of the fabric of San Francisco, providing educational opportunity at all socio-economic levels. Everyone is entitled to know that the accrediting process is fair and impartial.”

The commission’s lawyers have said in court papers that any “procedural irregularities” in the appraisal of City College do not invalidate the commission’s conclusion that the school was so poorly run that it deserved to have its accreditation terminated. They plan to argue at trial that college officials had ample time to fix the problems and that the state law Herrera is citing does not apply to accrediting agencies, the Chronicle reported.

The trial is expected to last five days, the newspaper said.

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Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, https://www.sfgate.com

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