After two years of struggling to uplift its accreditation status, Solano Community College is out of the woods, school officials announced Thursday.

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges removed the Fairfield college from probation. In a letter Monday, commission chairman Barbara Beno wrote that the college had resolved all outstanding issues.

SCC President Jowel Laguerre announced the news to much applause from about 100 teachers, staff and board members Thursday morning in the campus' theater.

"Our honor has been restored," Laguerre said. "We need to continue with honor.

"Your institution is no longer in trouble and that's really great."

Beno wrote that the college had immediately addressed five recommendations, as well as corrected other deficiencies the commission has noted since 2005.

Key problems the commission demanded action on included fiscal stability, leadership and planning, better communication and coordination, improved board relations and staffing, and better planning and organization, among other issues.

The college's work is far from finished, Laguerre said, stressing high-priority tasks now are for staff to continue working together to sustain improvements and to make the school the best it can be.

"We need your support now more than ever and I mean it," Laguerre said.

"Our promise and pledge to each other is to say 'never again,'" he added.


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The 12,000-student college was put on the restrictive "show cause" status, one step above loss of accreditation, in early 2009, and had just a few months to make substantial progress on six items.

After California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott addressed the board on the seriousness of the matter, the college hired State Trustee Thomas Henry as a high-level adviser and to help steer improvements.

Though the college is out of danger, Laguerre said Henry will remain on board as a special trustee through the remainder of his contract, which expires at the end of 2011.

"He's very helpful for us and we still have issues to work on," Laguerre said.

Chief among those are assuring financial stability, Laguerre said. A major commission concern had been the college's ability to produce acceptable financial reports and budgets.

For his part, Henry said SCC had made "remarkable" progress, a path which spoke to the college's leadership. Beno credited Laguerre's skills in establishing productive dialogue with staff and garnering support and cooperation from the board.

Future tasks, Henry said, are to prepare for a comprehensive self-evaluation due in the fall.

"There's no time to relax," he added.

Laguerre thanked staff, faculty, board members and others for working diligently the last several years on a number of fronts, including finances, communication, student achievement, leadership and board relations.

During Thursday's presentation, board President Denis Honeychurch commended the campus community, and said the board had taken big steps to improve its communication.

The improvements show "clearly that the men and women at the college care deeply about the institution," Honeychurch said in a prepared statement posted on the college's website.

Jeff Lehfeldt, president of the campus' Service Employees International Union chapter, said after all the negative publicity the accreditation crisis generated for the college, he and others wanted the public to know that "we're here. Our academic integrity and honor are intact."