Jeff Chiu/2012 ap file phot<p>Thanks to voters

50 million reasons to give thanks for school programs

In just a couple days we'll be gathering with close friends and family to give thanks for many, many things.

I have a lot to be grateful for and, most recently, I've been grateful for Proposition C, the Children and Families First initiative, passed this month by a majority of voters because it means so much to all of our students for years to come.

To the tune of about $50 million a year, it's a continued investment in our children and guaranteed funding for the Public Education Enrichment Fund and the Children and Youth Fund (formerly the Children's Fund) until 2041.

Here's a glimpse of what PEEF has made possible since 2004:

Arts and music: Over the past 10 years, we increased staffing of elementary school arts teachers by 50 percent. At the same time, we offered even more middle school art classes and maintained arts in all of our high schools.

Nurses and social workers: The PEEF has enabled us to triple the number of social workers and nurses serving kindergarten through eighth grades in our schools.

Physical education: It used to be that only elementary school teachers taught PE at elementary schools. Now nearly 100 percent of our K-5 schools have credentialed PE teachers who help elementary schools ensure children get the best physical education instruction.

Libraries: Prior to PEEF, only 23 percent of schools were staffed by a teacher librarian. Now all schools have a librarian on site at least two days per week. And the number of credentialed teacher librarians more than tripled since PEEF funding began. And the number of library books circulated by our students is now more than 1 million books.

Wellness Centers: Along with funding from the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, PEEF has increased the number of high school Wellness Centers by 50 percent.

Sports: With PEEF, the number of paid athletic coaches has increased by 30 percent, serving 7,000 students playing on 394 teams. Last school year, PEEF provided 1,646 bus trips to games for athletes as well as security personnel for 448 athletic contests.

Translation and interpretation services: These services are vital for our families. The number of events with interpreting services increased 40-fold and we tripled the number of documents translated each year and added access to even more languages including Tagalog, Russian, Vietnamese, Arabic and Samoan.

I can't thank you enough for supporting, sustaining and building on programs that make San Francisco a great place for children and families.

Richard A. Carranza is the superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

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