Newsletter March 3, 2022

Weekly updates from SF Parents

 

SF Parent Coalition wants to know what you think

There’s nothing better than sharing your thoughts and opinions. Especially with other fellow parents who have our city’s kids’ best interests in mind.

START OPINING HERE. You know you want to!

Please take just 5 minutes to take our quick member survey and tell us what you think about the priorities we’ve been focused on, and what else is important to you. Our priorities at SF Parent Coalition are set following hearing from you– parents– via surveys, Zoom meetings, social meet-ups, and our social media forums. This year, because of what we heard from you and other parents in our big and broad network, we’ve lifted up and been working on these important priorities:
  1. In-person learning and urging SFUSD to follow DPH guidelines
  2. Addressing budget deficit & SFUSD maintaining local control of our schools

  3. Effective school board governance and holding our commissioners accountable to putting students first
  4. COVID learning loss & recovery supports for students

  5. Hiring an excellent superintendent

There’s still lots to be done within those priority areas, but later this spring/summer we’ll begin thinking about where SF Parent Coalition might go next, or if this is still where to stay for a while.

School Board recap: 3/1 Meeting

This past Tuesday, the school board met to continue their 2/22 meeting, which had ended abruptly due to Brown Act concerns. Going past 11pm, here are the decisions that were made:
  • The Board of Education voted 6-0 to approve the tentative agreement that was negotiated and approved by UESF members. It included one time stipends and increases for teachers while also controversially cutting AP prep periods.
  • The Board also voted 6-0 to approve almost 300 staff cuts as part of its plan to crawl out of a $125 million structural budget deficit. While the notices have gone out, many layoffs can be avoided depending on how much funds are provided under the state budget process. Among the programs that will be especially affected are JROTC and the Japanese language program.
  • The Board voted 4-2 (Lam and Boggess dissenting) against cuts to 47 teacher aides and paraeducators. This decision received harsh criticism from Eliot Duchon, our fiscal expert assigned by the state to help SFUSD balance its books. Duchon reminded Commissioners of their obligation to be solvent and that decisions like this put the district closer to state takeover. 
There was no general public comment at this continuation meeting. That disappointed many parents who hoped to speak to SFUSD’s recent announcement that they won’t be updating mask guidance to align with Department of Public Health’s removal of the school mask mandate. California was the second to last state across the nation to remove the school mask mandate. SF DPH updated language outlining that masks in schools are now “recommended but not required” — but it remains to be seen if SFUSD & UESF will agree to align with public health.  P.S. Our friendly reminder to respect others’ mask decisions as we enter this new phase of changing mask guidance & more individual preferences/choice. Talk to your kids about it, too. Friends make different choices and that’s okay.

Please join us: SFUSD Budget Concerns Zoom Night on Wednesday 3/9

You just took our survey, right? Well, speaking of SF Parent Coalition priorities, this one’s got us stumped: the budget. We know we need to rightsize the ship, AND, that concept is still a pretty big and terrible pill to swallow. It seems every day now we’re receiving from parents a new petition, a new rally announcement, or some other action about some other cut. We wish we could stop them all. Until we figure that out (paging: all the billionaires), we’re thinking next best is one of our déjà vu reopening-style evening Zooms with YOU ALL. Remember those? Yeah, we miss them, too. Let’s come together on Wednesday 3/9 at 7:30pm and hear from one another. What cuts are you most concerned about? What questions do you have? We’ll take good notes and send them back up to the powers that be. And even if we can’t stop the cuts, well, we’ve got one caring community to get through this all together.

 

A different kind of March Madness: Events Overload!

  • (SAT 3/5) SFUSD School Planning Summit meeting. 815am-12:30pm. This is the annual summit to work together as a team on your School Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA). Agenda and materials are here. See you there!
  • (WEDS 3/9) SF Parent Coalition Zoom on SFUSD Budget Concerns. 7:30pm. Details above, and RSVP here.
  • (THURS 3/10) TogetherSF and SF Ed Fund on Why You Should Care About the Board of Education. Even if you’re not a parent! 7pm. RSVP here.
  • (WEDS 3/16) Lunchtime check-in with SFUSD Curriculum & Instruction Dept on Literacy!! 12pm. What’s the latest? What have we learned? How have the plans to improve instruction been updated? As a reminder: our district’s student reading outcomes are among the lowest in the state.😞 Check back next week for an RSVP. For now, put a hold on your calendar!
  • (SUN 3/20) New SFUSD family recruitment event! Location/time TBD. We know families have a choice to enroll in SFUSD or not. Our city has one of the highest opt-out rates for private/parochial of any in the nation (this does not help our budget situation). Join SF Parent Coalition on Sunday 3/20 in GG Park for some family fun and to talk with prospective SFUSD families about enrolling their kids! Wear your school shirt! Email us at hello@sfparents.org to sign up to rep your school and help out with this event– we need more volunteers to make it happen.