The school district and teachers’ union are calling on the Board of Supervisors to give $60 million of the city’s ERAF windfall money to the school district to pay for teacher raises under Proposition G (which was approved by the voters but is currently being held up in court). We at Innovate Public Schools and many of the families and community members we work with stand with them in calling for this.
At Innovate Public Schools, we stand with parents of color and low-income parents who want the best public education for their children. Teachers are at the heart of a student’s education and, across California, teachers are underpaid. In San Francisco, we are losing teachers as the high cost of housing forces them to relocate. The school district needs to be able to attract and retain talented teachers in order to prepare our students for the future and close the opportunity gap.
We care deeply about addressing homelessness and believe it is fitting that a large percentage of the windfall be used to address this crisis in San Francisco. However, investing in San Francisco’s school children is a key component of any plan to address homelessness in the long term. As school board member Mark Sanchez reminded us in the SF Examiner, 60 percent of San Francisco’s homeless population “comes from our city.”
We need to do a lot better for San Francisco’s underserved students. We need to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline, as well as the school-to-poverty and homelessness pipeline.
We also call on the school district to use any of the money available after Proposition G obligations are fulfilled to support schools with large numbers of underserved students. In particular, we would like to see the funds go to the specific schools that Superintendent Vincent Matthews has identified as PITCH schools. These are schools performing below the district average for African American students or where the gap between students of other races and Black students is widest. There are also wide gaps for Latino students at the PITCH schools. Around 30% of African American students and over 20% of Latino students across the district attend a PITCH school. Superintendent Matthews pledged to focus on these schools, and they would benefit greatly from additional resources.
$60 million is only a part of what is needed. We need a lot more resources, better policies, bold leadership, and big changes in order to improve outcomes for our underserved students.
But it is something, and San Francisco’s schools need all that we can get.
We will be at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting this Wednesday to show our support for allocating $60 million from the ERAF windfall to the San Francisco Unified School District. If you would like to join us, please contact Eva Orbuch at (415) 847-6183 or firstname.lastname@example.org