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San Francisco Schools Could Get Up to $60 Million Under Measure Headed to Fall Ballot

Written by Lisa MorenoPublished Jul. 26, 2022 • 6:32pm
Supervisor Hillary Ronen at the Board of Supervisors meeting in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, July 19, 2022. | Juliana Yamada/The Standard

Supervisors unanimously voted to send a measure that would give up to $60 million in grants to SFUSD schools per year to voters on the November ballot. 

The Student Success Fund Charter Amendment aims to fund programs tailored to each school and support academic achievement for the next 15 years, if passed. 

Each school would receive up to $1 million in grants from the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund for support programs to get students up to grade level and address possible emotional trauma resulting from educational and social inequities. 

Specifically, the money could increase access to school nurses, psychologists, summer learning opportunities, art programs and nonprofits to assist families living in poverty.

Supervisor Hillary Ronen praised the measure for focusing on student well-being amid tumultuous times for the San Francisco Unified School District. Her statement comes just a day after she asked SFUSD Board of Education member Ann Hsu to resign for making “racially insensitive” comments about Black and brown students. 

“We live in a city with such wealth, resources and innovation, yet our public schools have been chronically underfunded since the late 1970s,” Ronen said in a prepared statement. “The city is ready to step up and help fund the school essentials that will make SFUSD the top choice for students and families throughout San Francisco.” 

San Francisco is one of the few counties in California that collects more property tax than needed to meet state thresholds for public school funding. While most California counties rely on the state to fill their K-12 education budget gaps, San Francisco gets to divert its excess funds for other uses. 

The proposal headed for the fall ballot would divert that excess revenue to the Student Success Fund. If the state yanks that money from counties, as it has tried before, San Francisco would find other ways to fill the fund’s coffers. 

For a time, it appeared that San Francisco would lose out on its excess property tax revenue when the state tried to retain proceeds from the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund. In June, however, a Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled that the funds can go back to San Francisco schools.

“This funding source should have always been reinvested back into public schools and now is the opportunity to make this right,” Supervisor Myrna Melgar said in a statement Tuesday. “This Student Success Fund Charter Amendment will strategically support tools that have been proven successful in providing early interventions and addressing the learning setbacks students are facing.” 

San Franciscans can vote on the amendment in the Nov. 8 elections. 

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