While the San Francisco school board has been busy with renaming schools, covering up murals and ridiculous lawsuits, the SF school district has been struggling to make ends meet. The district has been warning for months that declining enrollment meant the school board needed to make cuts but the board has been too busy with woke priorities and has continued to spend tens of millions of dollars beyond what the district’s revenue can support.
Part of that excess spending was filled in by millions of dollars in COVID relief money that poured in
Now the situation is so dire that the California Department of Education is stepping in and the school district itself could be taken over by the state if improvement isn’t made quickly. The state is literally sending accountants to help the school board balance its budget.
The intervention, revealed this week in district meeting documents, means the state will bring in a fiscal consultant to help the school board figure out how to cut the equivalent of 13% of its annual $1 billion budget. It will also require the district to submit any labor agreements to state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond for review…
The school board increased its financial burden by creating new programs for racial subgroups, and incurred staff and legal fees with its decision and reversal on renaming some schools and approval of a nearly $1 million plan to cover up a school mural.
Spending to support struggling students is understandable, said former school board member Rachel Norton, “but your responsibility as a board member, first and foremost, is the financial condition of the district. That is your job.” She added, “It doesn’t appear that this board has made the hard decisions.”
Most recently, the board opposed a $5 million-saving move recommended by staff to shift teachers around to more evenly distribute the student load, and reduce the budget at some schools with declining enrollment…
If the district goes under and requires a loan to pay bills, the state would step in and take over, with the school board losing all control.
When I say the state is sending in help, what I actually mean is they are now making some pretty clear demands. The state has been asking the school board for a plan to address the expected budget shortfall for an entire year. So all of this time that the school board was focused on things like renaming schools, it should have been focused on coming up with a plan to balance the district’s budget. Now the state is done asking nicely. It has given the board a fixed deadline of December 15 to submit a fiscal stabilization plan, i.e. enough cuts to balance the budget. The state has warned that if the board doesn’t comply, the state has the power to suspend their pay and set aside their authority.
“If you fail to act accordingly, then CDE’s intervention will increase to the point where your governing authority is set aside,” said Michael Fine, chief executive officer of the state’s Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team, at a special school board meeting on Tuesday. “There is nothing good about that process…now is the time to act.”…
“There was a time a year ago to start this process but it hasn’t really gotten off the ground in a way that we consider to be a thoughtful manner,” he said. “So now we’re crunched. I understand where your schools are coming from. I don’t mean to be critical of it. At the same time, time is of the essence here.”
I don’t know how anyone in San Francisco could not support the recall at this point. Only 13 out of 1,000 school districts in the state are in such dire financial shape. The current board has wasted time dealing with this problem because it was too focused on woke nonsense to be bothered with a little thing like balancing the budget. These board members don’t deserve a second chance. In fact, they don’t seem to have learned anything.
Despite being faced with a dire fiscal crisis, the school board voted 6-1 last night to continue to spend money to pursue legal avenues to take down the Washington murals. https://t.co/4kz5Xa0YQW
— Recall SF School Board (@recallsfboe) October 6, 2021