As the superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District, I see firsthand how important our city’s parks, playgrounds and recreation centers are to kids and families in our city. Proposition B will ensure a sustainable funding source that will protect, maintain and improve these public spaces that our students and their families depend on every day.
Many of our public schools use their local parks to provide a space for physical education, ensuring students get the exercise and fresh air they need to stay healthy and focused while in the classroom. Other public schools use Recreation and Park Department land for community gardens where students learn to grow, care for and harvest fruit and vegetables, a unique experience for many kids in our dense urban environment.
After school, our city’s recreation centers are vital lifelines for working parents who need to know their children are cared for in a safe, engaging space. Rec and Park recreation centers are home to 49 after-school programs. From Miraloma Playground to Mission Playground to Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center, kids can learn jewelry making, martial arts, baseball, swimming and photography to name just a few of the many classes offered.
The Rec and Park summer camps are one of the last affordable summer programs for working families, providing fun, safe programs kids enjoy and parents depend on in an increasingly unaffordable city.
But all these great programs and constant use of our parks, playgrounds and rec centers requires constant maintenance and improvement.
Prop. B builds upon the Open Space Fund overwhelmingly passed by voters in 2000, fulfilling San Franciscans’ intent to provide a sustainable funding source for parks. Prop. B will ensure The City’s General Fund contribution to RPD gradually increases over time, does not fall below 2015-16 funding levels and ensures stable funding for the next 30 years through 2045-46.
Prop. B’s sustainable funding will allow Rec and Park to address the backlog of maintenance needs, and the breathing room to make improvements to outdated facilities and overgrown open spaces.
Additionally, for the first time ever, Prop. B requires RPD to develop equity metrics and an analysis of funding and service levels in low-income neighborhoods and disadvantaged communities, and to submit annual recommendations on how to provide equitable and sustainable funding for parks, playgrounds, and open spaces in every neighborhood of The City. Prop. B is a historic opportunity to secure a responsible and sustainable revenue source that will ensure clean and safe parks, playgrounds and recreation centers in every neighborhood for at least a generation — all without raising taxes.
Please join me, all members of the San Francisco School Board and Community College Board, legislative sponsor Supervisor Mark Farrell, the San Francisco PTA, and the SF Parent Pac in supporting Prop. B on your June 7 ballot.
Please take a moment to learn more about Prop. B and see our full endorsement list at www.protectsfparks.com.
Richard Carranza is superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.