Summer classes face budget ax 

Budget cuts likely will ax summer classes as The City’s school district makes moves to close a multimillion-dollar budget shortfall.

The San Francisco Unified School District, which has a $350 million operating budget, is facing an $83 million deficit during the next two fiscal years.

On the chopping block are the majority of summer school courses for students who need to catch up with their peers because they failed classes, speak another language or need credits for other reasons, such as for graduation, according to the district, which serves nearly 55,500 students.

The district spent roughly $2 million last summer for core and special-education courses at about 20 different campuses. This year, offerings during summer months are expected to only be available for 11th- and 12th-grade students who cannot move on without them, district spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said.

Cuts to summer courses, however, could hurt the majority of the 10,000 black and Hispanic students in K-12 grades who are behind, said NTanya Lee, executive director of Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth.

“We represent the parents and students of 500 families, and the question is, who exactly are the students who are going to be harmed by these budget cuts?” said Lee, who has a 2-year-old son.

Jackson Harris, a senior at Mission High School, also said it’s unfair.

“That’s a huge deal,” Harris said. “I mean, it creates a big problem for a lot of students. They won’t be able to graduate. How will they make up credits?”

In addition to the summer-course cuts, school officials say there are other programs and services that are vulnerable, including transportation, school sites, classroom sizes and the fate of teachers.

“There’s been no state funding. People shouldn’t be surprised,” Board of Education member Jill Wynns said. “Cutting summer school’s going to seem insignificant.’’

Lee said Coleman Advocates is asking the district to make “equity assessments,” similar to impact reports, to first analyze which students will get hurt the most by its decisions.

The school board likely will discuss the cutting of summer classes, among other moves, at its next meeting, which is Jan. 26.

 

Countdown to budget cuts

The San Francisco Unified School District has until July to make decisions on how to close an $83 million budget shortfall.

February through May: Public forums for parents and community members about budget

February: School sites receive preliminary budgets

March 15: Deadline to send preliminary notices of potential layoffs to certificated employees

May 15: Deadline to send final layoff notices to certificated employees

May 25, June 8: General meeting of the Board of Education

July 1: Deadline for school districts to submit adopted budgets

Source: SFUSD

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

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Kamala Kelkar

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Saturday, Feb 17, 2018

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