What’s next for our investments in San Francisco’s Children?

Arts, sports, counseling, libraries. If people try to tell you that these don't exist in our public schools — and I know you hear it all the time — you can tell them that's not true in San Francisco.

The Children's Fund

In 1991, San Francisco became the first city in the country to guarantee yearly funding for children and youth services when voters passed what has become known as the Children's Amendment to the City Charter. The law designates a portion of property taxes each year as the Children's Fund, which is administered by the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families.

Through investments, the DCYF supports more than 40,000 youths and more than 200 community-based organizations in early care and education, out-of-school time and youth leadership development. Those core investments are bolstered by a set of comprehensive support strategies including family resource centers, school-based youth and family centers, health and nutrition services and violence prevention, among others.

Public Education Enrichment Fund

In 2004, San Francisco voters approved the ballot initiative Proposition H. It established the Public Education Enrichment Fund (we call it PEEF) as law within the City Charter, and it came at a time when funding for schools from the state and federal level was decreasing. PEEF supports preschools, sports, libraries, the arts and music, and programs such as our wellness centers, translation services and peer resources.

And can I just say, wow. PEEF and the Children's Fund have put San Francisco on the map as a national model for school funding and continues to build a broad spectrum of local supports for children and families. I couldn't be prouder of this solid financial commitment to our youngest residents. Having all of this is measurably improving life for children and their families.

Where do we go from here?

That's where you come in.

San Francisco voters will soon be asked to renew the Children's Fund and the Public Education Enrichment Fund, which provide more than $100 million every year for our city's young people. Now is the time for the community to help shape the future of these investments before they are presented to the voters.

Mayor Ed Lee and I are hosting five meetings throughout The City in November. To start, we are asking questions such as: “What will it take for all of our children, youth and families to thrive in our city?” and, “Are there smarter, more effective ways parents, educators, The City and the broader community can work together to help our kids succeed?”

Please join us and share your ideas. I promise you we will be listening closely. For more information go to www.sfusd.edu.

Benefiting kids

SFUSD Superintendent Richard A. Carranza and Mayor Ed Lee will be hosting five neighborhood meetings regarding future school funding.

WESTERN ADDITION-CIVIC CENTER-FILLMORE

Nov. 5, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

African American Art & Culture Complex, 762 Fulton St. (near Webster Street), S.F.

RICHMOND-SUNSET

Nov. 6, 6-9 p.m.

California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive (Golden Gate Park)

BAYVIEW-HUNTERS POINT-EXCELSIOR

Nov. 9, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Bayview YMCA, 1601 Lane St., S.F.

CHINATOWN-NORTH BEACH

Nov. 12, 6-9 p.m.

Gordon J. Lau Elementary School, 950 Clay St., S.F.

MISSION-POTRERO-SOMA

Nov. 14, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Cesar Chavez Elementary School, 825 Shotwell St., S.F.

Source: SFUSD

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