SFUSD Joins Urban Schools Coalition in Calls for Congress to Provide More Funding For Public School Systems in Next Coronavirus Relief Bill

SFUSD Joins Urban Schools Coalition in Calls for Congress to Provide More Funding For Public School Systems in Next Coronavirus Relief Bill

Press Release

San Francisco (April 30, 2020) – This week San Francisco Unified School District leadership joined with 62 other school districts to urge Congress to approve new funding for local school systems in the next coronavirus supplemental appropriations bill. 

In a letter to Capitol Hill, SFUSD Superintendent Vincent Matthews calls on an additional federal allocation of $175 billion in Educational Stabilization Funds to be distributed to the local level through the Title I formula. The group of urban school district superintendents also urged Congress to provide an additional $13 billion for the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), $12 billion in additional Title I program funding, $2.0 billion for E-Rate, and emergency infrastructure funds that include public schools.  

The letter, signed individually by 62 big-city superintendents, asks federal lawmakers for financial support to help offset the unexpected costs districts are incurring in providing meal services to students and transforming from school-based to home-based learning in the wake of school closures. And as aggressive as schools have been in providing instruction at a distance, districts continue to need resources to provide electronic learning devices and internet connections to every child.

“The budget implications of the pandemic and the growing costs associated with providing distance learning and reopening are very serious. Our district was already struggling to make large budget reductions due to ongoing structural underfunding of critical services. Now, we’re facing even bigger shortfalls,”  said Dr. Vincent Matthews. “We are urging Congress and our state policymakers to prioritize public schools in federal stimulus funds and the state budget.”

“We need leadership to step up and support our public schools at all levels of government. Many of our students and families need even more from our schools, including meals and social-emotional support in addition to an education that prepares young people to thrive in a rapidly changing world,”said SF Board of Education President Mark Sanchez. “The role schools play is not only critical in getting through the pandemic and helping people get back to work, our schools are also an investment in the future.” 

Because of declines in state and local revenues, significant revenue shortfalls are looming for local school systems, as well, with several big-city school districts projecting 15 to 25 percent cuts in overall revenues going into next school year. According to the Council, an estimated 20 percent loss in combined state and local revenues would likely result in some 275,000 teachers being laid off in big-city public school systems alone.