Reserve to shine bright on school district

San Francisco’s public schools are in line to receive $17.9 million to $19.7 million in city funds from a “rainy day” reserve, Mayor Gavin Newsom is expected to announce today.

The San Francisco Unified School District is expecting a $40 million cut in state funding next year in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s current proposed budget, according to district officials.

In February, Newsom announced that hesupported giving local schools $31 million in rainy-day funding that was estimated to be available.

On Wednesday, the mayor met with district staff, the Controller’s Office and his education adviser to discuss the amount for which the district would be eligible, an estimated $18 million to $20 million, according to mayoral spokesman Nathan Ballard.

Teachers and administrators have been waiting to know the outcome of the district’s budget situation since 535 layoff warnings were issued March 15, said Dennis Kelly, presidents of the teachers union. Final decisions on layoffs are required to be sent out by May 15.

Supervisor Tom Ammiano, who authored the rainy-day legislation, said the available funding is good news for the schools.

“I know there was an estimation of more [money], but it’s still a significant amount that wouldn’t have been there,” Ammiano said.

The new rainy-day allocation is still tentative because the governor is scheduled to release revisions to his budget in May. Additionally, the Legislature won’t approve a final budget until summer or fall, Deputy Controller Monique Zmuda said.

To add to the uncertainty, the mayor and Board of Supervisors must vote on the sum before it can be given to the district.

Even with the rainy-day funds in hand, the district will need to do “quite a bit of trimming,” Superintendent Carlos Garcia said.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

Examiner Staff Writer David Smith contributed to this report.

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