TIP #1: Join your School Site Council
Okay okay, we know the school year has only just begun. You can first get through your kid’s Back-to-School Night and then join us for a fun parents’ night out with SF Parents and Kid Safe SF in September. But after that: it’s time to get down to business! If you’re not yet familiar with School Site Councils and how they impact the functioning of our schools, it’s time to learn! These are influential, decision-making bodies at every school across the district, composed of parents, students, teachers, and community members, that determine the goals of each school and how funds are spent to achieve school goals. Yes–pretty important! We hope YOU run for your school’s SSC. Elections occur in the fall. Email your school principal today to find out more. Relatedly, not to miss: Our SF Parents Explainer on SSCs and Your School’s Budget. Maybe share it with a parent friend at your school and then join the SSC together?!
Tip #2: Understand the district’s “LCAP” (Local Control Accountability Plan) and how to get involved
One of our longest-standing committees–our budget committee–met just before the summer and discussed involving parents in a bigger way this fall in the LCAP process, or the Local Control Accountability Plan. What is that and why should families get involved? In short, the LCAP influences the outcome of our district budgeting process (AKA how $$$$ gets spent on your kids’ education!!). The longer story is further explained in this oldie-but-goodie video interview between SF Parents Board member Seth Brenzel and Second District PTA’s Michelle Parker. Worth a watch. Interested in getting more involved in how the LCAP turns out this year? We’re hoping to engage more families in our budget committee this fall so we can spread the word and welcome all SFUSD families to get involved in the LCAP process! Email us today to get involved.
Tip #3: Learn all about the budget boost from the state
SFUSD’s budget may have been balanced in 2021-22, but the structural deficit still plagues us and we’ll all be hearing more about that in coming months. There is GOOD NEWS just in, however, from State Budget Chair Assemblymember Phil Ting (who also represents the west side of San Francisco!), about the recently finalized “transformative budget” for public education. The budget contains both one-time and ongoing funding sources for education, overall boosting school funding by 15%, moving California into the top 15 nationwide for per-pupil spending. Now we just need to see a commitment from the state and individual districts to do something truly transformative with those dollars. If you’re into nerding out on public education budget details, you’re in luck. Ed100 just published an Explainer of the new budget, here.
For full list of funding sources, see Ed100’s summary
of the 2022-23 CA funding increases for K-12
SF Parents goes on the road! We are so proud to be invited to and attending the National Parent Union Convening: Stepping Into Our Power. SF Parents Board Member and Cofounder, Yvette Edwards, will be attending the conference on behalf of SF Parents, connecting with other incredible parent leaders from all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico, building solidarity, and strengthening our local parent advocacy work. We can’t wait to represent SF families and lift up all of you at this national convening. We’ll definitely report back!
School safety. With the Uvalde massacre still heavy on many minds, parents have been reaching out to us about school safety. We’re working on getting more information from the district, but we are hearing two promising pieces of information already: 1) Columbine locks are installed at ~90% of classrooms across the district and they are working towards 100%. 2) Functional PA systems are another important safety measure, and one the district is working on currently. Stay tuned for more details.
Custodial shortages. We all heard about the challenges at schools like Buena Vista Horace Mann, where deferred maintenance caused serious safety hazards to students and staff. We’re now hearing that custodial shortages across the district could be causing more of those kinds of issues at an even greater number of schools. Check out this recent presentation for a grim picture of the Custodial Services staffing situation. Bottom line: Custodians are vitally important to healthy school sites at SFUSD, and we need to invest in them.
An election year! Could it be? Another election already? Yes, and we’re tired of them, too. But, November’s election is not to be missed, if you’re a family living in San Francisco. Stay tuned for more information about what’s on the ballot related to children and families. The spiciest news: Recalled commissioner Gabriela López is running to try to get her seat back on the Board of Education. As a reminder, SF Parent Coalition won’t give you voting recommendations, but if you’re not already subscribed to our sister arm’s newsletter, you can sign up at www.sfparentaction.org
Parents Night Out: Back-to-School Edition. Don’t miss our September gathering cohosted by SF Parents and Kid Safe SF! We’re looking forward to seeing you then, checking in on all things SF kids and families, and sharing great information with you, as always, for how you can continue to be engaged and involved. RSVP today!