June 23, 2010 (San Francisco) – Last night the San Francisco Board of Education unanimously approved its budget for the 2010-2011 school year.
Facing an estimated $113 million deficit from the state of California over the next two years, district officials have worked with its unions, staff and community since January to draft a budget that cuts across the district in several areas including four furlough days, reduced central office expenditures, and delayed repairs to some facilities.
Board of Education president Jane Kim thanked the SFUSD community for their input. “The public really pitched in - they attended our forums, organized their own forums, and gave us really great input, recommendations and even research that helped us tremendously.”
During community budget forums to discuss how to deal with the cuts, district officials learned from parents and guardians that they did not want to see class sizes increase, a cost-cutting measure chosen by many other school districts facing similar budget crises. Instead, SFUSD and the teachers union (UESF) negotiated four furlough days for next year, when schools and district offices will be closed. These unpaid days off, which will save the district approximately $5.7 million, shortens the school year to 176 days. Central office administrators and principals will be taking an additional unpaid day.
Other cuts include staff and non-personnel cuts in central office, fewer paid professional development days for teachers, reduced summer school classes, and a reduction in bus transportation. (See following pages for a summary of cuts.)
Because of these and other cuts, layoffs for teachers and administrators were reduced from a possible 700 to under 200.
Some schools will see less funding for arts and physical education classes because this year the state allowed those earmarked funds to be redirected to the general fund. However, thanks to the Public Education Enrichment Fund (PEEF), which is a separate voter-approved fund, most schools will keep some arts and physical education staffing in place.
“This has been by far the toughest year I have ever had as an educator and administrator,” said Superintendent Carlos Garcia. “We’ve been dealt a bad hand from the state, but we got this done.”
Garcia, several other school districts as well as students and parents recently filed a historic lawsuit against the state of California requesting that the current education finance system be declared unconstitutional and that the state be required to establish a school finance system that provides all students an equal opportunity to meet the academic goals set by the state.