Press Release Details
Press Release Message
Student Experiences and Outcomes Top of Mind as District Reckons With Declining Enrollment, Staffing Shortages, and Aging School Buildings
San Francisco (August 31, 2023) - At the Aug. 29 Board Workshop Special Meeting, San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne outlined a roadmap for the district to realign its resources to improve student experiences and outcomes in San Francisco public schools.
The SF Board of Education discussed the district’s “Resource Alignment: Budget, Staffing, and School Portfolio Planning” presentation and listened to public comment. No actions were taken by the Board or by the district on Aug. 29.
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; and share a roadmap for the year ahead.
On Aug. 29, Superintendent Wayne shared plans 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
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.
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.
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 to the Board of Education. By June 2024, the Board of Education will vote on resource alignment proposals.