SFUSD Preparing $790 Million Bond Measure for November 2024 Ballot

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San Francisco (May 2, 2024) - The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is preparing to introduce a general obligation bond to the SF Board of Education for consideration and placement on the Nov. 5, 2024 ballot. A recent report from the SFUSD Facilities Division identified significant building improvement needs in schools across the district. General obligation bonds provide SFUSD schools with funds to address critical facilities improvements and are the only source for the school district to make these necessary capital upgrades.      

District staff will present the proposed $790 million general obligation bond measure resolution at the May 14, 2024 Board of Education regular meeting. The measure is being designed to build on prior successes of voter-approved bond measures in 2003, 2006, 2011, and 2016 by enhancing safety and creating conditions for modern learning and improved daily experiences for all San Francisco public school students. As SFUSD is the largest provider of food security for children in San Francisco, the 2024 bond will also construct a Food Hub for Student Nutrition Services to improve access, source fresher products locally, and offer a wider range of healthy meals for all students. 

SFUSD sold the last of its remaining bond authorization in 2022, which means that the district needs to go back to voters with a new bond measure to address urgent and critical infrastructure needs. The new measure will not raise tax rates for San Francisco taxpayers and requires a 55% voter approval.

Since 2004, bonds have funded improvements at every school site, including major renovations or new construction at schools such as Willie Brown Middle School, Garfield Elementary School, Marina Middle School, Lafayette Elementary School, Clarendon Elementary School, Sheridan Elementary School and Mission Bay School, among others. 

“Every student deserves to learn in a fully resourced, safe, and comfortable school. This school bond will allow us to invest in the places that need it most and need it now,” said Superintendent Matt Wayne. “We are working together as a district to further the Bond Program’s successful track record of being on time and on budget, improving the quality of facilities and creating learning environments where students can thrive.”

In 2022, the SFUSD Facilities Department assessed all buildings and established a Facilities Master Plan (FMP), which identified priorities to create safe, modern, and comfortable SFUSD schools. These priorities inform the investment categories for the district’s 2024 bond measure: school modernization, core comfort improvements, enhancing student dining spaces and options, technology and network investments, schoolyard outdoor learning, and school site security upgrades. In addition to continuing the pace of modernization projects and capital upgrades, the 2024 bond also commits to comprehensively modernizing a large high school campus and to fund the first phase of a new consolidated SFUSD warehouse facility to include dry, cold, and freezer storage for SFUSD’s Student Nutrition Services (SNS) department. This major investment aims to provide food security and resiliency for SFUSD, which serves 30,000 daily meals to San Francisco kids. SFUSD estimates that 62% of San Francisco children served by SNS receive most or all of their daily nutrition from free school meals. The project makes major strides toward improving food quality and dependability of food service for SFUSD. 

“SFUSD’s commitment to educational excellence must be supported by well-functioning schools,” SF Board of Education President Lainie Motamedi said. “SFUSD’s Bond Program is absolutely essential to fund the critical improvements needed to provide quality education and safe learning environments. The Bond Program is a responsible steward of public funds and remains committed to transforming the state of our school facilities without increasing taxes.”

The 2024 bond measure will work in coordination with the district’s Resource Alignment Initiative, prioritizing investments that are responsive to the future of SFUSD’s school portfolio and that directly benefit students. Bond funds will only be used for schools that remain in the district’s portfolio. Concurrently, as part of SFUSD’s effort to align resources to improve student outcomes, the district will also explore opportunities to leverage its property to generate more value for SFUSD students. 

High Performance Track Record with Previous Bonds

SFUSD maintains an excellent track record with its current and previous bond programs. The district has a 20-year track record of delivering capital projects efficiently and effectively, and has built institutional capacity of excellence in project delivery. SFUSD’s debt burden and tax rates are relatively low when compared to other large school districts in the state. SFUSD spends down bonds efficiently and general obligation bond tax rates have always been lower than what was presented to voters in the bond measure at election time.

Next Steps

The Board of Education is tasked with voting on a resolution to determine the size and content of the bond before it is placed before voters. Over the next several months, the district will continue outreach to school communities to raise awareness of the proposed bond measure and listen to feedback and concerns. School bond ballot measures for the Nov. 5, 2024 election are due to the SF Department of Elections on Aug. 9.