On Tuesday night at the San Francisco Board of Education meeting my administration brought forward a preliminary budget proposal that encompassed the next two fiscal years and contains cuts of a magnitude never seen in California public education to date. To say it is a bleak outlook would grossly underestimate the size of the tsunami that is about to hit not only San Francisco's schools but the entire state education system. Yes, these cuts will be greater than those imposed after Prop. 13 and even greater than those experienced during the Great Depression.
To provide some perspective, here simply is our situation: SFUSD has an unrestricted general fund budget of approximately $400 million. Due to the actions taken in Sacramento over the last 18 months, our projected deficit over the next two years will total $113 million, or $1,365 less per student. This means we will be getting $4,977 per student instead of $6,342 per student. So we face 21 percent less for teachers and counselors, for books and math texts, for computers and art classes, and for field trips and science labs.
Sacramento has presented us with this problem and no new math can help us. School districts throughout the state are required by law to make the numbers work or face being put under state receivership. California school districts have been fiscally prudent; this is not a problem created by educators. We've tried to do more with less in a state whose dwindling commitment to education has gotten so bad that by next year we will rank dead last in the country for how much we spend per pupil. How is it possible that the eighth richest economy in the world can have the lowest per-pupil expenditure in the country?
Thursday, January 28, 2010
S.F. Chron: It may take a lawsuit to preserve schools
Yesterday, SFUSD superintendent Carlos Garcia wrote an op-ed piece for the Chronicle: