SFUSD Planning for New Payroll, Finance & Human Resources System to Replace EMPowerSF

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Press Release

San Francisco (February 29, 2024) - San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne today announced the district is taking steps to transition from its current payroll, finance, and human resources systems – including EMPowerSF – to a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. 

SFUSD has identified the system that will serve the district best: Frontline Education’s California Enterprise Resource System. This system was made for California K-12 education and is the most-used ERP system in the state. After a thorough review and due diligence, staff will be bringing forth a contract to the Board of Education on March 12, 2024 for approval. The target date for fully implementing this new system is July 2025. 

“This decision was made after thoughtful and careful consideration of what kind of ERP system we need as the third largest employer in San Francisco,” Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne said. “We are taking lessons learned from our switch to EMPowerSF in 2022 as we plan for this transition. I am confident that this change is in the best interest of our employees.”

As part of its commitment to operational excellence, the district will take the following steps to ensure due diligence in implementing the new system:

  • Review other school districts and county offices of education that use the same ERP to inform SFUSD’s implementation.
  • Ensure SFUSD has the necessary staff to implement new ERP without interrupting day-to-day work.
  • Apply a parallel implementation approach, which is considered the lowest risk for an ERP implementation strategy.
  • Maintain ongoing consultation and engagement with labor partners and end users.
  • Not going “all in” - choosing an ERP that can link well with 3rd party vendors as needed with known K-12 experience.

“SFUSD’s commitment to educational excellence must be supported by operational excellence. Families and staff count on us to demonstrate best practices in running a large urban school district,” SF Board of Education President Lainie Motamedi said. “The time is overdue for us to invest in a proven and successful system that enables us to keep our focus on our students’ success, while improving and strengthening district operations."

SFUSD will be bringing forth a contract to the Board of Education on March 12, 2024 for approval. The district is planning to only use funds that were set aside in 2022 for the implementation of a new ERP system per the guidance from state assigned fiscal experts.

“Getting rid of EMPowerSF is an important step towards building back trust and repairing the tremendous harm done to educators,” said Frank Lara, Executive Vice President of United Educators of San Francisco. “We hope the painstaking lessons learned while stabilizing EMPowerSF will be applied when moving to the new system.”

“We stood persistently in opposition to EMPowerSF since its implementation at SFUSD, but we appreciate Dr. Wayne on validating our stance on removing a system that falls short of meeting the requirements to work successfully for a public school district,” said Antonaé Robertson, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1021 - SFUSD Chapter Vice President. “And as we celebrate this step in the right direction, let it underscore our commitment to our members.”

SFUSD remains committed to implementing budget-balancing strategies to maintain fiscal solvency in line with California Department of Education guidance. The San Francisco Board of Education approved a resolution on June 20, 2023 that commits to take action to ensure the district meets the state minimum reserve for economic uncertainty and eliminates the school district’s unrestricted general fund structural deficit in 2023-24, 2024-25, and 2025-26. 

Based on the revenues, expenditures, and cash balance projections included in the 2023-24 First Interim Financial Reports, it is projected that SFUSD and the San Francisco County Office of Education will be able to meet its financial obligations for the current fiscal year. An updated multi-year projection will be included in the 2nd Interim Financial Report, scheduled to be presented at the March 12, 2024 Board of Education meeting.