TACKLING THE BUDGET HEAD-ONOver the next two years, a historic budget deficit of $113 million, roughly 25% of the school district's annual budget of $430 million, seriously threatens the San Francisco public school system.Deputy Superintendent Myong Leigh details the current budget situation in the San Francisco Unified School District Budget Presentation (January 26, 2010). What do you intend to do on the budget crisis?
We must partner with parents, students, teachers, administrators, community advocates, elected leaders, and all stakeholders to find creative ways to weather the crisis.
A fundamental problem is underfunding from the state. Due to Proposition 13, state tax revenues have shifted away from corporations to homeowners, resulting in less money for school, social services, roads, parks, and public safety. California, the 4th largest economy in the work, now ranks close to the bottom in per student funding of public education compared to other states. Join me in an effort to restore funding for our schools. Visit Close the Loophole for more on what we can do to ensure long-term funding for education.
ADVANCING HIGH QUALITY SCHOOLSEvery child deserves a quality education, regardless of race, gender, income, or neighborhood. High achieving as well as underperforming students must be challenged in school with relevant instruction. If all schools were high quality schools, there would be no need to invest so heavily in a complicated student assignment system. What will you do to improve our schools?
Teachers are the heart of public education. They must be valued and recognized for their tireless work in the classroom. We need more incentives to reward teachers whose work increases academic performance.
Different kids learn differently. We need to ensure that have access to an education that is relevant to their lives. We need expanded pathways for kids to succeed, including vocational training.
GROWING STUDENT ENROLLMENTToo many families are leaving San Francisco when their kids become of school age. Of those families who decide to stay, many choose alternatives over our public schools.
What will you do to grow student enrollment?
We need to further showcase the many good things that are happening in schools where teachers are valued, parents are involved, and the community is strong. Staff and parent groups must be trained to get the word out through social media. At one time, the district enrolled 90,000 students. Now it is down to 55,000. We have room to grow. Every new student brings in new state dollars to the district. We need to better connect with incoming families, make them feel valued and welcome.