San Francisco Unified School District is one of the largest employers in The City, with approximately 8,000 workers on its payroll. Yet in this past school year, 883 part-time employees -- mostly lunch monitors and student aides and interns -- were paid less than The City's minimum wage.
And that was perfectly legal because the SFUSD is a state agency and not required to match the local minimum wage, which reached $10.74 in January, explained Board of Education member Matt Haney.
In June, the SFUSD secured more than $150,000 in its 2014-15 budget to ensure all employees are paid at least The City's minimum wage this school year, which begins Monday. However, the Board of Education is expected to vote tonight on a resolution authored by Haney that would guarantee the district continues to meet local minimum wage in the coming years.
"This is a big statement for the school district to make about our future commitment to abide by the San Francisco minimum wage," Haney said. "We want to respect the standards that San Franciscans have set for all employers."
Schools, Haney pointed out, have difficulty retaining lunch monitors because they are paid so little -- they earned $9.40 an hour last school year. Additionally, adopting a minimum-wage policy for the district this school year gives the SFUSD time to plan ahead for potential citywide increases, Haney said.
It would cost the SFUSD an additional $659,465 if The City's minimum wage rises to $15, the projected amount by 2018 if voters approve Proposition J on the November ballot, according to a minimum-wage analysis by the district last spring.
"Now that we are recovering from the recession, we look forward to be in a position to compensate our employees toward a living wage here in San Francisco," Monica Vasquez, chief human resources officer for the SFUSD, said in a statement. "We are hopeful that the economic trend continues so we can further our goals to recruit, develop and retain effective teachers, leaders and staff."