Emotions boiled over at the San Francisco Unified School District Tuesday when the option to remedy a massive deficit was closing schools.
The first public speaker was the Reverend Amos Brown, who interrupted the meeting to demand public comment at the beginning of the meeting, not the end.
But board members spoke first, acknowledging a mountain of problems.
“We haven’t owned up to what’s it’s not working and it’s hard to look in the mirror sometimes but our kids and their education depends on it,” said a board member.
The district is facing a $39 million current school year shortfall, declining enrollment, and teacher turnover due partially to insufficient pay.
Now comes a proposal to close some schools. That’s where some parents draw a line in the sand.
“And it’s sad because we’re supposed to be fixing our schools and not trying to get rid of them,” said a parent.
“When your first principle is money will follow the students, and where enrollment is. That does not in any way signal to me as a parent, that you care about equity or care about our Black or Brown students,” said another parent.
No decision on closing schools was reached at Tuesday’s meeting but at some point board members say the financial problems will have to be addressed.
The district says if it were to upgrade school sites and get all of them off the “poor” condition list, that would cost $6 billion.