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SFGate: As S.F. schools struggle, board raises its budget
This from SFGate:
While San Francisco schools have been squeezing every dime out of their dwindling budgets, the city's school board has increased its own budget each of the past four years, spending more on travel to conferences, taking taxis around the city and paying for a board member's babysitter.
All told, the board has increased spending by 28 percent over the past four years, which includes the added cost of televising board meetings as well as increases in staff salaries and benefits, according to 600 pages of public records obtained by The Chronicle.
In each of those years, the board failed to stay within a set budget and dipped into the district's primary spending account to cover the difference.
In 2009-10, the board spent $492,629, including $22,000 for catered meals prior to board meetings for members and staff; $7,300 for a Portland conference attended by six of seven board members rather than the usual two or three; and $766 in taxis used by one board member during a five-day conference.
It's not a lot of money given the district's $500 million annual budget, but it's a spending pattern that stands in direct contrast to the slicing and dicing of programs and services at city schools.
"It does seem a little strange that they're increasing while everybody else has to decrease down to the bone," said parent Lorraine Woodruff-Long, who has two children at Aptos Middle School. "We don't have enough paper at my school. We've got to have a PTA drive for paper, and it's October."