San Francisco schools are facing a $113 million budget shortfall over the next two years - a staggering figure that would mean layoffs, cuts to popular programs like summer school and increases in class size.
Superintendent Carlos Garcia announced the projections Wednesday in a letter to San Francisco Unified School District staff and at a teachers union meeting.
Garcia said there will be layoffs, but the number of teachers and staff members released will depend on what else is cut. Given the shortfall, however, the district can't avoid pink slips.
"Inevitably you're not going to cut $113 million without a single person laid off," he said Thursday. "We want to get it down to as few people as possible."
The district's projected shortfall is $30 million more than previous forecasts and reflects the latest numbers in the governor's proposed budget.
Garcia said he will lay out a specific plan to address the cuts at Tuesday's school board meeting, but his list is likely to include cuts in the district office, summer school and busing, increases to class size, and employee furloughs and layoffs.
"These numbers are large, and they will be devastating," Garcia said in his letter. "The cuts that the State is forcing us to make are the greatest ever made at one time in the history of our district."
District officials are looking at $45.5 million in cuts to administration, other district departments and categorical programs, which could include such things as teacher training, school safety and instructional materials.
Some of the options
In addition, the district will be looking at other options, including freezing teacher salary increases related to years of service, and unpaid staff furloughs.
Garcia said the district could save $500,000 per grade level with a one-student increase in class size; $2.25 million for each unpaid furlough day; and $5.8 million annually by freezing teacher salary increases related to years of service and education levels.
"It's almost like it's too horrifying to even imagine," said parent Lorraine Woodruff-Long, who has two children in district schools. "I'm just thinking I can't even imagine how we're going to do this. All I want to know is that these cuts are as far away from the classroom and school sites as possible."
In his letter, Garcia also said the district is thinking about suing the state over funding levels that fall well short of what is needed.
"We must all stand up for children and let the governor and legislators know that the current state of education funding is unacceptable," he wrote.
Friday, January 22, 2010
SF Chronicle: Cuts needed amid S.F. schools' $113 million gap
A story by Jill Tucker from today's Chronicle: