Supervisors voted unanimously to send a measure that would award up to $60 million in SFUSD school grants per year to voters in the November ballot.
The Student Success Fund charter amendment aims to fund programs tailored to each school and support academic success for the next 15 years, if passed.
Each school would receive up to $1 million in grants from the Education Revenue Enhancement Fund for support programs to bring students up to grade and address potential emotional trauma resulting from educational and social inequities. .
Specifically, the money could improve access to school nurses, psychologists, summer learning opportunities, arts programs and nonprofit organizations to help families living in poverty.
Supervisor Hillary Ronen praised the measure for focusing on student welfare during tumultuous times for the San Francisco Unified School District. His statement comes just a day after he asked SFUSD education board member Ann Hsu to resign for making “racially insensitive” comments about black and brown students.
“We live in a city with so much wealth, resources and innovation, yet our public schools have been chronically underfunded since the late 1970s,” Ronen said in a prepared statement. “The city is ready to step in and help fund the school essentials that will make SFUSD the first choice for students and families in San Francisco.”
San Francisco is one of the few counties in California to collect more property taxes than necessary to meet state thresholds for public school funding. While most California counties rely on the state to fill their K-12 education budget gaps, San Francisco can divert its excess funds for other purposes.
The proposal directed at the fall ballot would divert that excess revenue to the Student Success Fund. If the state ripped that money from the counties, as it has done in the past, San Francisco would find other ways to fill the fund’s coffers.
For a time, it appeared that San Francisco would lose excess property tax revenue when the state attempted to retain proceeds from the Education Revenue Increase Fund. In June, however, a Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled the funds could return to schools in San Francisco.
“This source of funding should always have gone back to public schools and now is the opportunity to address it,” Supervisor Myrna Melgar said in a statement Tuesday. “This amendment to the Student Success Fund charter will strategically support tools that have been proven to provide early intervention and address the learning challenges students face.”
San Franciscans can vote on the amendment in the Nov. 8 election.
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