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Local funding proposal for SFUSD gets green light

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The Public Education Enrichment Fund allocates voter-approved funds to sports, libraries, arts, music and other SFUSD programs. (Jessica Christian/2016 S.F. Examiner)

Did you know our public schools offer more arts, physical education, librarians and student support services than any other large urban school district in the state?

It’s because San Franciscans believe in quality public schools for all.

Because of local revenue, there is funding for more than 200 arts teachers, librarians and PE teachers, and for school sites to support homeless students.

Last week I told you how our expenses are growing while our revenues are slowing. This is true overall, but for money set aside for the specific purpose of student enrichment programs, SFUSD actually has an additional $4.2 million than the previous school year.

The San Francisco Board of Education recently reviewed and gave the green light to the $73.7 million Public Education Enrichment Fund (PEEF) Expenditure Plan Proposal, which allocates voter-approved funds for sports, libraries, arts, music and other programs in The City’s public schools.

This fund is credited with bringing numerous educational resources to SFUSD students over the years. Some highlights include:

  • Prior to PEEF, only 23% of schools were served by a credentialed librarian. As of 2012, 100% of schools are served by a credentialed librarian.
  • Prior to PEEF, there were no credentialed PE teachers serving at the elementary level. The proposed 2018-19 budget includes 46.
  • Because of PEEF, SFUSD has far more social workers and nurses per student than the state average (one social worker or nurse for every 357 students, whereas statewide there is one social worker or nurse for every 1,878 students).
  • PEEF has made it possible for students to get back on track for graduation by greatly increasing access to credit recovery courses. Because of PEEF, the number of credit recovery courses offered since 2012-13 has more than doubled.

PEEF funding includes:

  • $6.8 million for physical education instruction in schools
  • $4.2 million for extracurricular athletics programs
  • $11 million for school libraries
  • $14.7 million for arts and music programs
  • $36.8 million for student, family, and academic supports, including social workers, nurses, translation and interpretation and Career Technical Education

Among other things, PEEF funding will help support:

  • 46 PE teachers, elementary equipment and support, secondary dollars for sites, fitness labs, special olympics and bike program
  • 375 site athletic coaches, stipends for teams, equipment, uniforms, transportation, athletic trainers, and paralympics
  • 72 librarians, books, technology, and databases
  • 93 arts teachers, instruments, and district-wide events

PEEF was established after San Francisco voters passed a charter amendment in 2004 to provide taxpayer money to help supplement programs in The City’s public schools. The fund was reauthorized by San Francisco voters in 2014 to extend PEEF through 2041.

The $73.7 million for the SFUSD represents two-thirds of the total PEEF allocation. The remaining one-third supports universal Pre-K and is managed by San Francisco’s Office of Early Care and Education.

In a state where funding for public education remains relatively meager, San Francisco public school students are the beneficiaries of robust local funding for enrichment. This commitment from S.F. voters is part of what makes our students’ educational experiences so well-rounded.

Learn more about our enrichment programs at http://www.sfusd.edu/en/about-sfusd/voter-initiatives/public-education-enrichment-fund.html

Vincent Matthews is superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

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