SF Board of Education Votes on Staff Reductions as Part of Budget Balancing Plan
San Francisco (March 2, 2022) - The San Francisco Board of Education voted on the number of San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) staff positions that may need to be reduced by July 2022 in order to submit a balanced budget to the State.
Per the California Education Code, the district is required to send out notices of layoff on or before March 15, 2022 for certain employee groups, including teachers. These notices, which reflect 254 full-time positions, are preliminary and not every employee who receives a notice will be laid off. Final notice of employee layoffs or administrative reassignments must be given by May 15 for teachers and June 30 for administrative reassignments and layoffs.
SFUSD is experiencing a structural deficit –– even before the pandemic the district’s expenditures exceeded its revenue. Contributing factors include decreased student enrollment, which deepens the deficit due to revenue loss; and rising financial obligations associated with staff pensions, among other expenses.
“While a shared understanding of our budget realities and how the education code works is valuable, at the end of the day, I know from personal experience that this whole process leaves us weary and deflated. A layoff notice is not the same as an actual layoff and hopefully most employees who receive a March 15 notice will not be given a final notice. Nonetheless, I recognize that this time can be stressful and feel uncertain,” SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews said.
The district currently has a “qualified” fiscal certification with the Superintendent of Public Instruction, a status which is assigned when a school district may not be able to meet its financial obligations for the current or two subsequent fiscal years. To address these fiscal concerns, on December 14, 2021, the SF Board of Education adopted a multi-year budget balancing plan which includes significant reductions in its workforce. Failure to faithfully implement that budget balancing plan could result in a negative fiscal certification and ultimately in substantial loss of local control over the district’s educational programs and priorities.
In addressing the budget forecast, SFUSD has sought to soften the impact on schools, including making reductions to Central administration in the last few years and seeking additional funding sources. However, current projections show estimated deficits of approximately $125M for the district’s next fiscal year, 2022-23, and a potential deficit of as much as $140 million during fiscal year 2023-24.
To meet its fiscal obligations, the district has determined that it will be necessary to reduce or discontinue certain kinds of services within the district at the end of the 2021-22 school year. As a result of this reduction or discontinuation in particular kinds of services, it will be necessary at the end of the 2021-22 school year to terminate the employment of some district employees of the district.
The SF Board of Education voted to approve no more than a 3% reduction of credentialed staff represented by the United Educators of San Francisco (UESF) and up to a 31% reduction of unrepresented management positions.
In January, SFUSD Human Resources (HR) identified the employees who may be impacted in a layoff, as determined by seniority. On Jan. 28, the Chief of HR emailed all of those potentially impacted employees. It was not an official layoff notice, but rather an effort to give them as much advance notice as possible that they may be impacted so that they would know to consult with SFUSD HR or their union for support. SFUSD HR has also held information sessions for potentially impacted employees.
SFUSD is offering early retirement and resignation notification incentives in hopes of identifying vacancies that can be filled by existing staff whose positions are being impacted by layoffs. The district anticipates that the number of proposed layoffs will decrease throughout the spring.