Newsletter Dec 13, 2023: Budget Report

Weekly updates from SF Parents

December 13, 2023


We like to start with the good news whenever possible. And at last night’s Board of Education meeting there was some GREAT news. At long last, historic raises with significant salary increases for our teachers and staff were approved. If you’ve got a kid in public school in San Francisco, you know just how much our teachers and school staff deserve these raises. It is so very important that SFUSD prioritize paying them well; their wellbeing is important and directly impacts students.


There was another big item at last night’s Board of Education meeting, and this one is less rosy.


You might remember our last newsletter: Kids can’t wait for classroom teachers. Too many vacancies in schools across every neighborhood of the city remain unfilled, months into the 2023-24 school year. Well, last night, nearly 10% of SFUSD’s overall staff positions (albeit vacant ones) were slashed from the district’s budget. 927 of our 1113 vacancies were cut. This was done as part of a budget rebalancing plan owed to the state of California (an annual requirement), to demonstrate how SFUSD would reallocate funding to cover our new costs this year.


Maybe this is the smartest plan ever. Maybe it is not. We just don’t know, because there was no analysis presented on the impact of these cuts to our students and staff. There was no information of the impact to our most vulnerable student populations. We see lots of numbers and dollars on paper, but zero transparency about any analysis of the potential impact on kids.



We’ve been saying all along: Fixing our budget will be hard. Not fixing it will be harder. However, we’ve also been saying–rather, urging–SFUSD and the Board of Education to go through this process carefully, strategically, and with a full commitment to their fiduciary responsibility to minimize negative impacts to our city’s students.


A majority of the Board of Education voted last night to slash these 900 positions, $30 million in PEEF funding for arts, music and sports, and $3M in literacy funding, without first seeing or requesting an analysis on how these cuts fit into a broader plan to fix our budget or how our students are impacted.


Commissioners Jenny Lam and Lainie Motamedi, voices of reason among the chorus of blissful denial about the stark realities of our budget crisis, called out the gaping holes in the Superintendent’s plan. Or rather, lack of a plan.


An over-reliance on one-time funds, spending down our reserves close to zero, and presenting NO information on how $94 million in cuts — close to 10% of our budget — will impact our students, classrooms, schools… this is not how to protect our public schools from state takeover.


Since the Superintendent didn’t present his plan last night, we’re going to keep asking for it, and we’ll let you know when we have it. We want to know:

  • Which student programs and services, at what schools, and how many students will be impacted by the cuts and reallocations, for example the $27M reallocation of PEEF arts, music, and athletics funds, and the $11M in contract cuts?
  • How will the literacy coaching funding impact students and schools this year and next?
  • How will we meet IEP requirements for our special education students?
  • Will there be impacts to student access to 3 meals a day, for those who need it, due to the Cafeteria Fund cuts?
  • How were the 900 staff position eliminations chosen and determined, as part of an overall staffing adjustment plan to ensure a baseline of excellence at every school? Which positions at each and every school will be preserved? Which schools are impacted by these position eliminations, and was this communicated to school principals in advance?


The bottom line: We need to see a plan. There is no information about the impact of these cuts to student outcomes. We are not surprised by the $93M in cuts; in fact we understand there will be many more of those coming. But we are very concerned by the lack of a plan or a clear indication from the Superintendent and majority of the Board that they are ready to make the tough choices and finally align resources to our student outcomes goals. San Francisco’s 50,000 public school kids deserve an excellent, equitable education, and we’re still not seeing the district deliver on this promise.

Upcoming Events

  • This year we opted for an SF Parents New Years party in January instead of adding another holiday party to the busy month of December. We can’t wait to celebrate the start of 2024 with you–our incredible community of parent advocates from across the city! Join us on Wednesday, January 17th at Manny’s. Details and RSVP here.


  • ICYMI:

    • Missed our November monthly meeting with SFUSD’s Curriculum & Instruction Team regarding updates and progress with the literacy and math curriculum changes? Check it out here.
    • Missed our State of SF’s Public Schools event on November 8th with Mayor Breed, Superintendent Dr. Wayne, and more? You can watch the full recording here.

As always, we’re here for your questions, concerns and input. Please reach out to us at any time ([email protected]).
And, before you go, please consider a single or monthly contribution of just $5 to SF Parent Coalition to ensure we can continue supporting families through informative newsletters, events, and opportunities to get their voices heard by key decisionmakers! We wouldn’t be able to do this work or have the impact we’re having without you, our incredible network of parents and community supporters.
With gratitude,
Meredith & the Team at SF Parent Coalition


SF Parent Coalition centers the needs of children and youth in San Francisco public schools by bringing together a diverse network of parents and caregivers to advocate for a thriving, equitable school system.

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