SF Board of Education Approves Budget for 2021-22 School Year
San Francisco (June 23, 2021) - The San Francisco Board of Education unanimously approved the $1.16 billion total operating budget for the 2021-22 school year.
The budget includes the $75.8 million 2021-22 Public Education Enrichment Fund (PEEF) Expenditure Plan. The spending plan for these voter-approved funds support many programs in the City’s public schools, including sports, libraries, arts and music programs. For instance, because of PEEF, every San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) school has a library and a credentialed librarian, and every student has access to a nurse and/or social worker.
Additionally, the budget includes $93.5 million parcel taxes from the Quality Teacher and Education Act (QTEA), as approved by San Francisco voters in 2008, and the Fair Wages for Educators Act (FWEA), as approved by San Francisco voters in 2020. Both measures help make San Francisco teacher salaries competitive with those in surrounding school districts; provides financial incentives for teachers to work at schools with historically high turnover and teach in hard-to-fill subject areas such as high school math; increases teacher support while raising teacher accountability; improves academic innovation through research and development; and upgrades school technologies.
“We are incredibly grateful to the voters of San Francisco, who consistently show their support for public education. Thanks to their generosity, our public schools offer more arts and music, physical education, library services and student support than any other large urban school district in the state,” SF Board of Education President Gabriela Lopez said. “Being at the forefront of providing school-based wellness programs has never been more important.”
SFUSD expects to receive $140 million in federal stimulus funding that will help welcome students back with increased academic and wellness support in the fall and will help address a budget deficit of $100.2 million. The district’s budget also reflects an increase in funding from the state: SFUSD expects to receive $551.3 million from the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), California’s primary source of state education dollars. This funding in SFUSD’s unrestricted general fund is a $20 million (3.8%) increase from last year.
However, school district officials caution these new state and federal funds may only be short-term relief for an ongoing structural deficit facing SFUSD and many other California school districts.
“As we emerge from the pandemic and prepare to return all students to in-person learning in the fall, we are prioritizing programs for our highest need students,” said SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews. “We are very glad for the federal stimulus and state grants as our costs have continued to rise. This is a much-needed short-term remedy to support and stabilize our students as they return from distance learning and pandemic related challenges. While we are prepared to do as much as possible for students this year, we are also continuing to work toward a multi-year plan to balance our budget.”
Even before the pandemic began, SFUSD’s revenues grew slowly while the cost of running the seventh largest school district in the one of the costliest, yet high poverty cities in the state grew exponentially, and fund balance declined. With school closures and the rollout of distance learning to contain the spread of COVID-19, SFUSD pivoted to meet the educational crisis with constrained resources.
“While the proposed budget is positive, by allowing another year to sustain our investments in our students, it is shadowed by the short-term nature of several significant funding sources and a looming $112 million deficit in FY 2022-23. To tackle this fiscal cliff, District staff will continue their work with Zero-Based Budgeting as a means to establish a path towards fiscal sustainability over the next five months. The Zero-Based Budget process aims to prioritize District spending in three categories: Base Package Services, District Priorities, and Service Enhancements. Budget reductions would be made by scaling back Service Enhancements and identifying ways to configure the delivery of Base Package and District Priority services more efficiently. Staff is committed to engaging with school site leaders, labor partners, parent groups, and other stakeholders who will offer valuable perspectives that inform our strategies,” said Meghan Wallace, SFUSD Chief Financial Officer.
The majority of SFUSD’s total operating budget consists of the Unrestricted General Fund, most of which funds school-based supports, including employee salary and benefit costs.
The next largest portion of the budget, the Restricted General Fund, amounts to 38% of the overall budget. Restricted funds are only to be spent on designated purposes, such as PEEF, and the Quality Teacher & Education Act (QTEA) which helps fund increased compensation and professional learning for educators.
SFUSD must send its approved budget to the state by July 1.
About the Local Control Funding Formula
California’s LCFF, enacted in 2013–14, replaced the previous kindergarten through 12th grade (K–12) revenue limit funding methodology, and gave school districts serving high-needs students more funds in the form of supplemental and concentration grants, based on the number and percentages of high-needs students they serve. School districts are also required to adopt Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs), which are plans to show how districts will spend the supplemental funds to support their high-needs students. Each year, parents, students, labor partners, and community members are given the opportunity to provide feedback and help shape SFUSD’s LCAP.
About the Public Education Enrichment Fund
PEEF was established after San Francisco voters passed a charter amendment in 2004 to provide taxpayer money to help supplement programs in the city’s public schools. The fund was reauthorized by San Francisco voters in 2014 to extend PEEF through 2041. Once approved by the San Francisco Board of Education, the PEEF spending plan is submitted to the Mayor's Office and the City and County of San Francisco.