Strapped San Francisco schools asking teachers to trim expenses

San Francisco Unified School District will once again lean on teachers in order to trim expenses as it faces another year of probable state budget cuts.

The district asked the United Educators of San Francisco to consider reducing the length of the work year, suspending or eliminating sabbatical leaves, suspending advancements on salary schedules and reducing floating holidays for paraprofessionals. The changes would be written into a three-year contract that would run through spring 2015.

“The struggling state economy will continue to adversely impact the district,” district officials wrote in an introduction to the proposal unveiled at the Board of Education’s meeting Tuesday night. “The need to prepare for significant expenditure reductions is certain.”

At the meeting, Superintendent Carlos Garcia said the district had learned it would lose $5 million in midyear budget cuts triggered by a shortfall in state revenue. The amount was lower than the $13 million predicted earlier this month, but Garcia said the impact would still be felt.

“As bad as things are in our budget, they are going to get even worse,” he said. “We’re going to have to figure out, together as a community, how are we going to figure out how to take these cuts?”

Dennis Kelly, president of the teachers union, said the district should have waited until it learned the extent of the cuts before drawing up the proposal. He added that his members would be upset by some of the proposed cost reductions.

“They’ve created a laundry list,” Kelly said. “Many of the things on the laundry list are things that are going to anger and inflame our members.”

Kelly said the union would present its own proposal at a school board meeting in January.

Meanwhile, the United Administrators of San Francisco presented its own proposal for a contract with supervisory staff. At the top of its list of requests is a pay raise.

acrawford@sfexaminer.com

 

Possible budget boosters

Cost-saving measures suggested in SFUSD’s initial proposal to the teachers union:

  • Reducing the length of the work year
  • Eliminating or suspending sabbatical leaves for teachers
  • Reducing floating holidays for paraprofessionals
  • Suspending advancement on salary schedules
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