S.F. school district lists ways to meet $113-million, 2-year budget shortfall

Calls lack of state funding an 'unprecedented assault on public education'

San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Carlos Garcia proposed several ideas for budget cuts at the district's Board of Education meeting Wednesday night to address a $113 million shortfall over the next two years.

Garcia presented the board with ideas for reductions to services such as supplemental counseling, staff development, physical education and violence prevention programs, along with the possibility of suspending teacher sabbaticals, freezing salary increases, and increasing class sizes.

Garcia said in a statement that the state's lack of funding for the schools is "an unprecedented assault on public education."

The board was asked by Garcia to consider the options and make a decision soon. The district has until March 15 to notify families about offers for school placement and to send preliminary layoff notices to teachers.

Matthew Hardy, spokesman for United Educators of San Francisco, said today he agrees that the state is to blame for the budget crisis, but that the union will need to have further discussions with district officials before agreeing to cuts.

"Before we're willing to sit down and entertain the possibility of cuts, we need to know cuts are being made as far away from classrooms as possible and that the district is being totally transparent with the budget," Hardy said.

He said the union has put in many requests for information on the district's finances, but has not heard back.

"We need to know what we're looking at to assess what cuts should happen," Hardy said.

District spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said today that those requests are "in process at this time, and negotiations are ongoing."

The district is required to negotiate with the union on proposals to suspend the teacher sabbaticals, freeze salary increases, or increase class sizes. The district can lay off teachers and make cuts to other school services without negotiation.

Blythe said no matter what cuts are made, "it's just not possible for the cuts to not affect everybody that works at the district and everyone who attends school in our district."

Hardy said the school and students "deserve a full and open discussion about what the priorities are, and we believe they lie firmly in the classroom."

He said "we don't envy the superintendent or school board for the position they're in. The state has failed the schools, but we need to make sure this process is done right."

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 28, 2010 at 10:58 am

There's no assault on public education. The public sees through the sensationalism. Now such phrases just appear foolish. The state is to blame, but I'd bet Garcia would do the exact same things that got us into this mess. Número Uno: illegal immigrants, who account for around %25 of Californias students yet whose parents contribute about .5% in taxes toward it. Illegal immigrants also take burgeoning amounts of welfare from our health and general entitlement system. This adds up to several billions of dollars per year.

Class sizes are the next biggest drain on our state economy, forcing us to hire nearly twice as many teachers as we need, accounting for around $15 billion in just waste. Of course, teachers unions are for lower class sizes because that means we have to hire more teachers. And the unions are also for illegal immigration, because the illegals kids fill up our classrooms and thus we have to hire more teachers!

All paid for by you

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 28, 2010 at 12:10 pm

[Post removed due to excessive and/or repetitive post by same poster]

Like this comment
Posted by Kelly
a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Jan 29, 2010 at 4:36 am

Really PUSD? Bringing in anyone running anything in San Francisco is clearly a HUGE Mistake! San Francisco, The Worst-Run Big City in the U.S. Spend more. Get less...

Web Link
Despite its good intentions, San Francisco is not leading the country in gay marriage. Despite its good intentions, it is not stopping wars. Despite its spending more money per capita on homelessness than any comparable city, its homeless problem is worse than any comparable city's. Despite its spending more money per capita, period, than almost any city in the nation, San Francisco has poorly managed, budget-busting capital projects, overlapping social programs no one is certain are working, and a transportation system where the only thing running ahead of schedule is the size of its deficit.

We want excellence in education but lets face facts: Does Spending More on Education Improve Academic Achievement?

Web Link

Taxpayers have invested considerable resources in the nation's public schools. However, ever-increasing funding of education has not led to sim­ilarly improved student performance. Instead of simply increasing funding for public education, federal and state policymakers should implement education reforms designed to improve resource allocation and boost student performance.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Couples: "When Good People Have Affairs" by Mira Kirshenbaum
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 2,175 views