I am passing on the email that Dennis Kelly sent out to UESF (United Educators of San Francisco) members today regarding proposals for closing SFUSD's large budget gap in hopes that you will alert parents. As an SFUSD teacher I ask that you not use my name, but I think everyone is deeply concerned about what these proposed cuts would mean for our students. We need parents to stand up and demand transparency in the budget process, and to make it clear to the administration that cuts need to be made as far from the classroom as possible.Here is the email from Dennis Kelly:
Superintendent Garcia Asks UESF Members for Millions to Deal with $113 Million Budget Crisis UESF Calls for Cuts Away from the Classroom, Transparency from District in Making Budget Decisions
Rally at the 555 Franklin - January 26 - 5:00 p.m.
Last night Superintendent Carlos Garcia stood before the UESF Assembly, detailing the need for upwards of $113 million in cuts over the next two years. The bad news was delivered as Governor Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers continue to offer a cuts-only approach to the state budget crisis.
Lawmakers in Sacramento have failed our schools. Instead of looking for additional revenues to patch the budget, they instead look to take it out on our state's most vulnerable people - our students. In San Francisco we are now forced to consider such substantial cuts that the quality of education will be severely compromised.
All district employees got an email outlining the special cuts that the Superintendent is asking for. His presentation last night followed similar lines. Those cuts include at least 400 teacher layoffs, four furlough days, freezing step and column increases and sabbaticals for two years, eliminating summer school for two years, and raising K-3 class size up to 30. UESF staff is currently preparing a fact sheet explaining this information, which should be available by the weekend.
As this awful process moves forward, UESF now calls on the Superintendent and district officials to do everything they can to make cuts as far away from the classroom as possible. We also call on the Superintendent to be forthcoming with documentation to verify the basis for his proposed cuts.
Last night the Superintendent promised to be open and fully forthcoming with specific budget information. Because of the collapsed timeline involved, he now needs to quickly make good on that promise.
Furthermore, in order for any sacrifice to be made by UESF members, we need to see not only that substantial cuts have been made on the administrative end, but that every possible cost-cutting approach has been thoroughly considered.
Superintendent Garcia intends to present the proposed cuts he has outlined to the Board of Education at their meeting on January 26, 2010. He has also indicated that he wants the process to be completed by the end of February. The deadline for layoff notices to be sent to teachers is March 15, 2010. For paraprofessionals, it is April 27, 2010. In making his presentation, Garcia implied that without an agreement he would be forced to send out several hundred more layoff notices and to reopen full negotiations.
Because many of the proposed cuts would require a modification of the UESF contract, Superintendent Garcia is essentially proposing that limited negotiations between the district and UESF begin immediately. At a meeting this morning with UESF leadership, we told the Superintendent that we must see more details on his budget numbers and know his priorities before we can have a any further discussions.
Anticipating receiving the information we requested, we have scheduled an emergency meeting of the Executive Board and Bargaining Team for January 27th to discuss entering these negotiations. The results of such negotiations would be put to the UESF membership for an up or down vote.
The district has been put into an incredibly difficult situation because of the failure of the state to adequately fund our schools. Many difficult decisions lie ahead that are in no way the fault of the Superintendent or the district. But it is more important than ever that these tough decisions are made with complete transparency, and with the priority firmly placed on saving the jobs of teachers and paras.
We ask that all UESF members stay engaged in the process, and that you stand in unity with your brothers and sisters to defend our jobs and the classroom.
Rally January 26th Before the Board of Ed Meeting
On Tuesday UESF will hold a rally and picket line before the Board of Education meeting at 555 Franklin St. Our message at the rally is twofold - first, to take a stand against any further state budget cuts and to call for progressive taxation and budget reform; second, to demand that the SFUSD make cuts as far away from the classroom as possible and that their budget process is done with transparency. The rally will take place at 5:00 p.m. Please plan on attending.
Please print, copy, post and share with UESF colleagues who are not receiving UESF emails.
United Educators of San Francisco
2310 Mason Street
San Francisco, CA 94133