A message to the community
Dear Families and Supporters,
It’s not often we send two emails in one week. But we’ve been feeling and absorbing the rising anxiety from families across the city about SFUSD’s budget situation, and let us just say, we’re right there with you. First, news articles about potential school closures. Then, a tough Board of Education meeting earlier this week and an ominous email from Superintendent Dr. Wayne out to the entire SFUSD school community. There’s no way around it: there are hard budget decisions ahead for our school district.
Nearly 60 new parents joined our network or Facebook forum in just the last 24 hours; reminiscent of January 2021 when families flocked to Decreasing the Distance because they were stressed, overwhelmed, and it looked like there was no end in sight to school closures.
Superintendent Dr. Wayne’s message yesterday made things clearer about where things stand. Our district’s budget challenges have been years in the making, and can no longer be avoided.
The Board of Education met on Tuesday night to review the SFUSD proposal laying out a roadmap for the analysis and decisions ahead. The board and leadership team were thoughtful and honest in their comments and remarks, and didn’t bring into the board room the distracting and performative behaviors that we saw in SFUSD boards of the past. We commend them for taking this work seriously.
Budget cuts are going to happen, are we are going to be loud about making sure these cuts do not disproportionately impact students of color. And with cuts, we want to see the district refocus on its core priorities, namely: improved student outcomes. We’re not a group that’s fighting to protect the status quo of our schools. While SFUSD—overall—is one of the best districts in the state, that does not hold true for our students from historically marginalized backgrounds, our students in special education, and other focal populations. We find nothing acceptable about maintaining an SFUSD system that ranks 188th out of 200 California districts for reading outcomes among low-income Latino students and 186th out of 200 for reading outcomes among low-income Black students. That’s where the outrage should lie. It’s also why we launched the SF Kids Can’t Wait campaign earlier this year, and why we’ll keep pushing for more resources tied directly to kids as SFUSD undertakes its year-long budget alignment process.
We’ll continue to fight for excellent and equitable schools and to lift up your concerns to district leaders. We’ll continue to ask families, educators, staff, and community to work together rather than in opposition. Could we even dream big, and through SFUSD’s resource alignment process, identify solutions that bring our district closer to having world-class schools where every student thrives?
Join us in urging the district to make a baseline commitment across every SFUSD elementary, middle, and high school that will ensure an equitable, excellent education for our city’s 50,000 students.
1. Take the 5-minute Survey for Tomorrow’s Schools
(also available in Spanish and Chinese)
2. Share it with your parent and school networks
SF Parent Coalition will anonymize and aggregate the results, sharing both publicly and directly to leadership at SFUSD.
As the district tackles major budget challenges, we demand that SF’s kids stay at the center of every discussion and every micro and macro decision. Fixing our budget will be hard; not fixing it will be harder.
San Francisco’s kids can’t wait any longer for the adults to get this right.
Meredith & the Team at SF Parent Coalition