What is the plan?

Principal with parent and student walking down the hall

“San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is currently engaged in one of its most comprehensive reorganization efforts to date. 

Amid the many strategic ends the district has defined for this process, it has prioritized equity as a foundational principle, defining and operationalizing it to address and mitigate structural inequities and historical injustices affecting specific community partners and populations. 

Furthermore, the district’s reorganization approach, which emphasizes community engagement and data-informed decision-making, is unique in its aims and complexity relative to other large U.S. school districts engaged in similar reorganization efforts. 

This novel approach has positioned SFUSD as a potential standard bearer (or cautionary tale) for equitable school reorganization efforts nationwide.”

-Dr. Francis Pearman, 
Assistant Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University

Designing and Executing an Equity-Focused and Research-Based Process

Past efforts to close schools here in San Francisco and around the country have often been done without transparency or input from the community, causing disproportionate negative impacts on low-income communities of color. The District is committed to avoiding mistakes of the past. We understand that closing, merging, and co-locating schools must be done with care and transparency. That’s why we designed a decision-making process, that gathers input from students, educators, families, and the community, shares information regularly, and includes multiple equity checks.

To create a comprehensive process that ensures community engagement and equitable outcomes, we interviewed leaders in other districts who have had similar challenges to learn from their successes and failures, met with district finance experts, and consulted existing research and legal guidance from the California Department of Education (CDE), the California Attorney General, and Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE). We also voluntarily opted to align our process to the requirements of AB 1912, a state law specifically for districts that have received loans from the state and have the highest level of CDE oversight, to adhere to the highest standards. 

Community Engagement

SFUSD’s schools should reflect the values of the San Francisco community, so gathering input from students, parents, staff, and community members is an important part of our process. SFUSD’s Guardrail One about Effective Decision-Making outlines our standard of excellence for community engagement and is being used during the Resource Alignment Initiative The guardrail states:

“The Superintendent will not make major decisions without utilizing a process–that includes meaningful consultation with the parents/guardians, students, and staff who will be impacted by those decisions–at the inception, adoption, and review.”

Our goal is to ensure we proactively reach out to San Francisco’s many communities, with special efforts dedicated to reaching historically marginalized groups. We dedicated considerable time and resources to meeting with families in person while using SFUSD’s communications channels to raise awareness and provide detailed information about the process.

The process for creating a new portfolio of schools includes multiple phases of community engagement. We implemented the first phase from March to May 2024. It focused on gathering input on which criteria should be used to determine which schools should be considered for closure, merger, and co-location. The District’s community engagement on this topic surpassed all past District community engagement, including those gathering input for the 2022 superintendent search and developing the Vision, Values, Goals, and Guardrails. Notably, this effort also surpassed all the school districts researched for best practices.

Phase One of community engagement included:

  • 2 Virtual Town Halls with 1,000 participants
  • 16 in-person community sessions with 1,070 participants
  • 12,206 complete surveys submitted
  • 3,000+ community feedback comments received
  • 6 Community sessions about language pathways
  • Outreach to 295 community-based organizations
  • 291 attendees at 6 CBO information sessions
  • 175+ materials translated into 6 languages
  • 1,000 translated flyers delivered to CBOs
  • 7 meetings with Community Advisory Committees

Upcoming community engagement will focus on deep engagement with school communities that will be directly affected by closures, mergers, and co-locations to ensure a transition that supports the unique needs of each school community. 

District Advisory Committee (DAC)

The Board of Education established the District Advisory Committee (DAC) in November 2023 to 1) provide feedback on proposals to match resources to student outcomes, 2) consider the implications of proposals on the community, and 3) consider the big picture and tradeoffs associated with major decisions.

The DAC had 11 members who represented important viewpoints, including labor, families, and community members. From November through May, DAC members met 13 times to develop their feedback and recommendations. All meetings were open to the public and included a public comment period. 

The committee considered multiple factors that might affect the creation of a new portfolio of schools. In June 2024, the DAC submitted its recommended changes to the District’s criteria used to determine which schools will be affected by closures, mergers, and co-locations. Shortly after, the District responded to the DAC recommendations (English, Spanish, Chinese). Find more information on the DAC, including all the meeting materials, on the DAC webpage.

Prioritizing Equity

RAI Fact Base Chart

Our paramount goal in this process is to create an outcome that considers historical inequities and mitigates any disproportionate negative impact on any community or group. To do that, we added three equity checks.

We’ve partnered with Stanford’s Center for Education Policy Analysis to focus on equity throughout our process, including an equity audit. A third-party equity audit aims to minimize harm to any student group or community during school mergers, co-locations, and closures. 

We’re also abiding by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a statewide law that requires public agencies to consider the environmental effects of their actions. 

Lastly, we’re also voluntarily following the majority of the guidance set out in California Assembly Bill 1912 (AB 1912). AB 1912 is a state law that mandates financially distressed school districts engage the community and conduct an equity impact assessment before closing, merging, or consolidating schools. This process aims to prevent systemic discrimination and ensure that decisions do not disproportionately harm vulnerable student groups.

SFUSD is not technically “financially distressed,” so it is not required to follow AB 1912. However, AB 1912 requirements have informed the district’s process to maintain a high bar for integrity and equity.

Attorney General Rob Bonta’s guidance for school districts recommends all districts follow AB 1912 regardless of their financial designation. “For districts that are considering closures but do not fall under AB 1912’s mandate, following AB 1912 and the best practices identified in this guidance will reduce a district’s legal risk, improve community trust and parent engagement, and begin to remedy the continuing harms of segregation.”

Taken together, these equity safeguards ensure the school consolidation process and outcomes are as transparent, fair, and just as possible. 


The timeline for Focus Area 5: Creating a New Portfolio of Schools, including its milestones and activities, was informed by other school districts and guidance from the California Department of Education. SFUSD began the Resource Alignment Initiative at a Board of Education meeting on August 29, 2023. The 12-month plan includes two phases of community engagement over eight months. SFUSD plans to announce which schools are affected in Fall 2024.

Resource Alignment Initiative timeline

Note: The original timeline included three phases of community engagement. The second phase, “Final criteria based on equity audit and continued partner meetings,” was eliminated because the equity audit will be applied to portfolio scenarios, not the criteria.

Step 0: Planning

  • August 2023: Superintendent Wayne announces the Resource Alignment Initiative and commits to guiding principles (see here for Dr. Wayne’s August letter to the communityDistrict staff’s RAI presentation, and a video recording of the discussion)  
  • September 2023: District staff begins planning RAI steps, determining resources needed, and researching other districts’ efforts to learn from their successes and failures
  • September 2023: District staff begin creating fact bases shared with the District Advisory Committee beginning in January 2024
  • September 2023: District staff begin resource planning and analysis for RAI focus areas one through four: school staffing model, central office reorganization, property use, and programs  
  • November 2023: The District Advisory Committee kicks off, begins reviewing SFUSD’s resource alignment strategies

Step 1: Share Fact Base, Create Criteria, Conduct Equity Checks

  • January 2024: The District Advisory Committee begins reviewing fact bases, beginning with high school 
  • March 2, 2024: At SFUSD’s School Planning Summit, Superintendent Wayne shares RAI updates and announces the District’s intention to merge, co-locate, and close schools
  • March 2024: SFUSD will begin to engage staff, school communities, external stakeholders, and the broader community 
  • March through May 2024: The general public will give input on draft criteria for school mergers, co-locations, and closures (see How Can I Get Involved for details). The District will engage in two cycles of engagement. After each cycle, the District will play back community feedback and show how feedback was incorporated.
  • May through August 2024: Stanford University researchers will conduct a third-party equity audit to ensure no community or student group is unfairly burdened more than others by our resource alignment decisions. 
  • June 2024: Superintendent Wayne will present initial criteria for mergers, co-locations, and closures to the Board of Education.

Step 2: Apply Criteria to SFUSD’s Schools

  • June through November 2024: A consultant will review the RAI’s initial proposals for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The CEQA review is required by law. 
  • July and August 2024: District staff will review the criteria, equity audit, and initial CEQA findings.
  • September/October 2024: Superintendent Wayne will present to the Board of Education the proposed list of schools affected by mergers, co-locations, and closures.

Step 3: Engage with Affected Schools; Board Votes on Superintendent Recommendations

  • September through November 2024: Based on the final criteria, District staff begin to engage each school community affected by a proposed merger, co-location, or closure.
  • December 2024: Superintendent Wayne proposes to the Board of Education a final recommended slate of schools to merge, co-locate, or close. The Board votes on the recommendation.

Step 4: Support Affected Schools, Families, Students, and Staff

  • January 2025 through May 2026: SFUSD deeply supports families, students, and staff to plan for mergers, co-locations, or closures

This page was last updated on June 27, 2024