SFUSD passes austere budget as cuts loom

Courtesy PhotoA vacant school building at 1155 Page St. will be leased to the French American International School.

Courtesy PhotoA vacant school building at 1155 Page St. will be leased to the French American International School.

Despite lingering uncertainty about the outcome of labor negotiations and the amount of state funding that will be available after voters have their say on proposed tax increases in November, the San Francisco school board unanimously approved an austere but balanced 2012-13 budget Tuesday night.

“I think that we’d be less than honest with the public if we didn’t tell you that we wish this was a better budget,” said San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Carlos Garcia, who is retiring after this month. “We’re victims of circumstance in a state that is too cheap to fund education for itschildren.”

The budget includes four furlough days for teachers, a slight increase in class sizes for third graders, and a 1.7 percent cut in the money sent directly to schools. Board members also learned Tuesday that things will get worse than expected if California voters do not approve proposed tax increases that will be on the ballot in November.

The SFUSD budget assumes that a tax increase promoted by Gov. Jerry Brown will pass, Deputy Superintendent Myong Leigh said at the board meeting. Should the proposition fail, the state will cut funding for the SFUSD by as much as $24 million, or 6.6 percent of the district’s discretionary funding. To help districts cope with such substantial cuts, the state is considering allowing them to trim days from the school year, which could result in just 160 total, down from 180 before the financial crisis.

“We do have a serious issue with the prospect of these taxes not passing in November,” Leigh said.

In other action

  • The school board approved a charter for a new high school to be run by the Knowledge Is Power Program, better known as KIPP. The vote was 6-1, with Jill Wynns the sole board member opposed.
  • A national charter chain, KIPP has operated two middle schools in The City for nearly a decade, and both boast high test scores. The new high school will open for ninth-graders in 2013 and add an additional class each year until 2016.
  • The school board voted to rent out two unused properties.
  • A vacant school building at 1155 Page St. will be leased to the private French American International School, which will operate a preschool and kindergarten facility there. The building has been vacant for six years and is uninhabitable, a district spokeswoman said. The private school has agreed to pay nominal rent for 20 years and to invest about $5 million to rehabilitate the site.
  • Empty office space at 1520 Howard St. will be leased to The Arc of San Francisco for $70,000 a year. The organization will use the space to house programs for intellectually disabled young adults.

 

Budget by the numbers

Totals

  • $597 million in expenditures
  • $362 million in discretionary expenditures
  • $567 million in revenue

Selected increases

  • $9 million for the county Office of Education’s special-education services
  • $1.2 million for instructional support
  • $738,000 for retiree benefits
  • $630,000 for central administration

Selected cuts

  • $9 million in salary cuts
  • $3.7 million reduction in funds sent to schools
  • $535,000 cut from operational support

Source: SFUSD

 

 

Bay Area NewsCarlos GarciaeducationLocalSan Francisco Unified School District

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A health care worker receives one of the first COVID-19 vaccine doses at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on Tuesday Dec. 15, 2020. (Courtesy SFgov)
SF to open three large sites for COVID-19 vaccinations

Breed: ‘We need more doses. We are asking for more doses’

Tongo Eisen-Martin, a Bernal Heights resident, named San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Tongo Eisen-Martin becomes San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate

Bernal Heights resident Tongo Eisen-Martin has become San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate.… Continue reading

Homeless people's tents can be seen on Golden Gate Avenue in the Tenderloin on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 16, 2020. (Photo by Ekevara Kitpowsong/S.F. Examiner)
Statewide business tax could bring new funds to combat homelessness

San Francisco could get more than $100 million a year for housing, rental assistance, shelter beds

The Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco (a mural by artist Jamie Treacy is pictued) has a lineup of free online programming including activities for youngsters scheduled for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18. (Courtesy Demetri Broxton/Museum of the African Diaspora)
Stanford, Museum of the African Diaspora host MLK Day activities

Online offerings include films, music, discussion

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi presides the US House of Representatives vote on the impeachment of US President Donald Trump at the US Capitol, January 13, 2021, in Washington, DC. - The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives on January 13 opened debate on a historic second impeachment of President Donald Trump over his supporters' attack of the Capitol that left five dead. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
House votes 232-197 to impeach Trump a second time

Focus shifts to Senate, where McConnell has signaled he may not stand by president

Most Read