SFUSD, SF Board of Education to Discuss District Stabilization Plan

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Superintendent and Staff Will Develop Bold Proposals to Address Declining Enrollment, Staffing Shortages, and Aging School Buildings

San Francisco (August 23, 2023) - San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne and the SF Board of Education will hold a discussion on “Resource Alignment: Budget, Staffing, and School Portfolio Planning” at the Board Workshop Special Meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023.

During the 2023-24 school year, SFUSD will initiate and deliver a series of proposals to align the district's resources and operations with its adopted Vision, Values, Goals, and Guardrails. The Aug. 29 workshop will examine and discuss 10 key drivers shaping SFUSD's alignment of resources; guiding principles to provide a framework for proposal development; share a roadmap for the year ahead; and describe the approach and methodology for the creation of a Central Staffing model. 

On Aug. 29, the Board of Education will be asked to authorize Superintendent Wayne to develop bold proposals actionable within one year to:

  • Establish a school staffing model so that each school is staffed based on each school's enrollment.
  • Restructure district-wide services to serve students and sites more effectively and efficiently.
  • Explore opportunities to leverage the district's property to generate more value for district students.
  • Prioritize resourcing programs that have demonstrated success toward positive student outcomes.
  • Recommend additional measures to align the district’s operations with current and projected enrollment; including criteria for potential mergers, co-locations, or closures of school sites

Superintendent Wayne will also ask the Board of Education for authorization to convene a District Advisory Committee to deliberate and provide public feedback on each of the above proposals. The Committee will meet on an at least monthly basis.

“We are wrestling with many external factors that are beyond our control, such as declining enrollment, aging facilities, and staffing shortages. We need to meet these challenges head on,” Superintendent Wayne said. “We have to change the way that we do business, which includes looking at our resources and aligning them with our student outcome goals.”

Current Realities

While not new or unique to SFUSD, declining enrollment and staffing shortages have a real impact on the day-to-day operations of San Francisco public schools. SFUSD enrollment has decreased by over 4,000 students since the 2012-13 school year. Demographic trends such as declining birth rates indicate that SFUSD could lose 4,600 additional students by 2032. 

The California Department of Education (CDE) uses attendance data to allocate state funding for various programs, including the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), California’s primary source of state education dollars. For the FY 2022-23 budget, school districts were held “harmless” for changes in average daily attendance (ADA) resulting from school closures and recognizing that traditional forms of attendance were not possible during distance learning. In 2023-24, SFUSD expects to use the average of the prior three fiscal years to determine funded ADA levels.

Declining enrollment has a direct impact on SFUSD’s finances. As enrollment declines persist, SFUSD’s revenue from the state will decline, beginning with an anticipated $5 million reduction to LCFF revenue by 2025-26 but growing to as much as $30 million over time. Additional investments, including salary increases, will not be feasible within the district’s financial means. 

Critical district operations are affected by staffing shortages. In 2022-23 and 2023-24, at least 15% classrooms were staffed by substitute teachers or teachers on special assignment. In addition, Custodial Services and Student Nutrition Services has a staffing deficit of close to 25% for the past year. 

Next Steps

SFUSD will follow these guiding principles when developing proposals to evaluate its portfolio:

  • Money will follow students. Schools should have predictable services that all students receive based on student enrollment.
  • SFUSD will plan to operate at-scale based on student enrollment.  Schools and classrooms will be operating at full capacity to provide the best instruction and learning experience.
  • SFUSD will allocate resources to programs aligned with positive student outcomes. Improving student outcomes requires strategic abandonment.
  • SFUSD will approach the development of any proposed school portfolio changes with an equity lens to explicitly evaluate disproportionate racial equity impacts. This approach will be consistent with state statute, best practices, and with an understanding of SF’s history of racial segregation.

“We know this is not going to be easy. Real people, real lives, real communities will be impacted by these decisions,” SF Board of Education President Kevine Boggess said. “We have a long road ahead. These decisions cannot be made quickly. The Board of Education is committed to ensuring that our communities’ voices are honored and respected in the process.”

By December 2023, Superintendent Wayne will present a staffing model to the Board of Education for consideration and inclusion in the 2024-25 school year budget submission. By April 2024, Superintendent Wayne will present proposals and District Advisory Committee Feedback to the Board of Education. By June 2024, the Board of Education will vote on resource alignment proposals.