SFUSD Sets Course to Align Resources to Meet Student Outcome Goals

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Press Release

San Francisco (March 2, 2024) - San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne today announced an update to the district’s Resource Alignment Initiative (RAI), a multi-faceted plan based on best practices from around the country to align the district's resources with its adopted Vision, Values, Goals, and Guardrails with a focus on equitable student experiences. 

The initiative was launched in August 2023 and includes five components: 1) creating a new school staffing model, 2) reorganizing the central office, 3) exploring generating revenue from properties, 4) investments in priority districtwide programs, and 5) creating a new school portfolio. This update includes a robust community engagement plan, a timeline for recommendations and decisions, and the district’s commitments to each and every student. There will be no changes to SFUSD’s school portfolio in the 2024-25 school year; adjustments to the system of schools will go into effect in fall 2025. 

“Our resources are simply stretched too thin, and it’s impacting our ability to deliver the quality education San Francisco’s children deserve. To create the schools our students deserve and our families expect, we must have fewer schools than we do now,” SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne said. “By having fewer schools, we can concentrate our resources and enhance programs, teacher support, and student services. This strategic shift aims to give every student the tools they need to succeed in college and careers.”

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 2017-18 school year. Demographic trends such as declining birth rates indicate that SFUSD could lose 4,600 additional students by 2032. 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 Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) revenue by 2025-26 but growing to as much as $30 million over time.

Critical district operations are affected by staffing shortages. In 2022-23, at least 15% of classrooms were staffed by substitute teachers or teachers on special assignment, which was also the case at the start of 2023-24. Custodial Services and Student Nutrition Services have experienced a staffing deficit of about 25% for the past year. Meanwhile, 50% of positions are vacant in Buildings & Grounds’ heating and ventilation shop. 

While the Resource Alignment Initiative is intended to thoughtfully and equitably realign SFUSD’s resources to address the impacts of declining enrollment and staffing shortages across the district, it also serves as a roadmap to reach the next chapter in SFUSD’s evolution. In this next chapter, SFUSD will be a stronger, more equitable, and more stable education system, where every San Francisco public school student attends a strong school; educators have the resources and support to excel; and the community grows stronger together.

As SFUSD evaluates its system of schools, these are the requirements for meaningful recommendations: 

  1. Money will follow students. Schools should have predictable services that all students receive based on student enrollment.
  2. SFUSD will plan to operate at scale based on student enrollment. Schools and classrooms will operate at full capacity to provide the best instruction and learning experience. 
  3. SFUSD will allocate resources to programs aligned with positive student outcomes. Improving student outcomes requires strategic abandonment. 
  4. 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 statutes, best practices, and with an understanding of SF’s history of racial segregation. 

To create a comprehensive process that ensures community engagement and equitable outcomes, SFUSD has interviewed leaders in other districts who have had similar challenges to learn from their successes and failures. SFUSD also consulted existing research and legal guidance from the California Department of Education, the California Attorney General, and Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) to ensure the Resource Alignment Initiative uses best practices and satisfies requirements.

Visit the RAI website for more information, including Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), a timeline, and next steps for community engagement.