Parents seek school funds 

Every one of San Francisco’s state lawmakers, its mayor, members of its Board of Supervisors, its entire Board of Education — they all showed face at a town hall meeting organized by a handful of moms and attended by hundreds of public school parents Thursday.

But easy solutions to the complicated problem of school funding were few and far between.

Many of the local officials said the millions in education cuts they are about to make — like ending summer school and increasing class sizes — have been agonizing, but their hands have been tied by limited funding they are receiving from the state.

"A lot of times it’s, ‘Am I going to cut off my right arm today or am I going to cut off my left arm?’" Board of Education President Jane Kim said.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers asked attendees to lobby the governor and limit the control of Republicans in the Legislature, who they say have held the budget process hostage. Democratic state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano said voters need to alter Proposition 13, the 1978 initiative that severely limited property taxes.

"It doesn’t matter your race or creed — we’re all screwed and it’s time to unscrew it," he said.

Linda Shaffer, one of the six public school mothers who organized the standing-room-only event, said just getting several hundred parents organized to attend the meeting was a success. But she was disappointed that so many powerful elected officials seemed so powerless to restore funding to schools.

"I think we can be a little harder on them than we’re being," she said. "They’re our elected officials. We need to ask: What are you doing? What are you doing to work across the aisle?"

She said the group may next start a parents lobby or find another way to funnel the interest of the attendees into action.

The town hall ended with a teacher calling for all school administrators to limit their salaries to $83,000. The comment received the longest and loudest ovation.

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