Parent Analysis & Overview — Student Success Fund Charter Amendment Proposal

June 2022

*This page will be updated as we learn more from parents with your feedback, questions/concerns, and ideas, and as we learn more from K-12 education experts, the proposal’s authors, and other stakeholders focused on our city’s students. Email us at hello@sfparents.org to share your reactions and ideas around the Student Success Fund Charter Amendment proposal.

What is it?

  • Up to $70M/year for the next twenty-five years for SFUSD; via our district’s fair share of county ERAF (Educational Revenue Augmentation Funds)
  • A new proposal by city Supervisor Hillary Ronen to amend the city’s charter to direct these funds, to support our students at under-resourced schools, following a Community Schools approach; a model which has some proven validity in leading to improved student and student outcomes when implemented well. 

How will it work?

  • Individual schools will apply to DCYF (Department of Children Youth and Families) for up to $1M a year in funding. A significant portion of the funds would be devoted to a staff person at each school, a Community Schools Coordinator, to help run the program.
  • Read the full proposal draft language here.

Parents & caregivers are considering questions and criteria such as how well does the proposal:

  • Demonstrate a truly equitable, coherent, and aligned approach that ensures greatest impact for our highest-need students and schools?
  • Align with SFUSD Vision 2025 (or–with the new Superintendent’s & School Board new vision and plan)? 
  • Incorporate approaches that follow evidence-based solutions for educational improvement?
  • Demonstrate an organizationally and financially sustainable model with strong accountability measures in place? 

Some areas in the proposal that require clarification and strengthening:

  • What does “community schools” mean specifically in this new context for SFUSD? And how does it fit into our existing community schools infrastructure? At SFUSD we have: 
  • How does this charter amendment incorporate and involve the San Francisco Unified School District so that we can ensure a coordinated approach and strong framework for community schools?
  • How will this charter amendment focus on improved student outcomes? SFUSD has existing dashboards for student and school performance, including around its current community schools. How does this proposal follow that existing approach?
  • What accountability measures will be put in place to ensure equitable, efficient, aligned, and coherent allocation and implementation? Can we add stipulations to use some portion of funds to track progress, conduct annual reporting, and transparently report out outcomes data to families and the public?  
  • How does this charter amendment ensure a more equitable distribution of resources to individual school sites? With so many funding streams, and new community schools funding coming from California, how will DCYF ensure that resources are received by students who need additional support? At the same time, will there be flexibility in the application of funds so that site leaders can hire and select services from their preferred CBOs?
  • What will be the unintended consequences of this proposal’s heavy reliance on strong site leadership and school site council governance in order for schools to qualify for funds? Parents and site leaders will vary in their ability to write grants in order to be eligible to receive funding through this proposal. This could result in an inequitable distribution of resources to SFUSD students. Parents report varying level of site leadership and capacity; what does that mean for the access to and effective spending of these funds? Are inequities improved or perpetuated by this model?
  • This proposal follows a very decentralized approach, which is on the one hand is appreciated to get dollars closest to the student, yet also we know there are benefits to our 50,000 students by having a “unified” school district that coordinates and supports individual schools. Should there be some allocation for the central support required to implement this large-scale program across 70 schools, to ensure equitable distribution and that all students in needs of these supports truly have access to them?  
  • This proposal specifies the hiring of coordinator positions as well as a program director to administer these grant funds. How do we reconcile these new hires at a time when teachers and school site positions are being eliminated due to the district’s structural deficit? Would other implementation approaches be possible other than hiring new positions? For example, could a fiscal agent nonprofit provide consulting and support for the overall implementation?
  • Only two of seven commissioners were involved with drafting this proposal; what do the other five commissioners think? What is the new Superintendent Dr. Wayne’s vision and strategy for improving SFUSD and how does this fit in? To improve effectiveness of these funds, should they be aligned to the new superintendent’s and new school board’s strategy, considering any upcoming institutional shifts in staffing and prioritization? 

SFUSD should follow a coherent, aligned, and equitable approach to student instruction and support services. We are thrilled about the opportunity for SFUSD to finally receive its fair share of ERAF dollars, and wholly support those dollars being directed to the students and schools who need them most. Parents and caregivers want to ensure that city and district dollars follow a coherent and aligned approach, allocating all available resources to achieve the goal of equitable and excellent instructional services and supports for our students.