I must get into the habit of using the correct name for the advisory committee for the Public Education Enrichment Fund (the fund approved by S.F. voters in 2004 that transfers money from the City’s general fund to the schools for sports, libraries, arts, music and other uses). It is the “PEEF CAC” but for some reason, most people still seem to refer to it as the “Prop H Committee.”
Anyway. Tonight the Board met as a Committee of the Whole (which means we meet as a body but cannot vote on anything) to discuss a resolution authored by former Board President Mark Sanchez and current Board President Kim-Shree Maufas. This resolution would greatly clarify and focus the committee’s mission, which in some years has been so unclear that it brought the Superintendent’s priorities in direct conflict with the Committee’s, and left the Board in the uncomfortable position of choosing which recommendations it would adopt.
For those who aren’t familiar with the history, the annual PEEF allocation is divided into thirds — one-third for early childhood programs, one-third for sports, libraries arts and music (known as SLAM), and the “third-third”, which the district is allowed to use for any purpose it deems necessary. The PEEF CAC’s job is to suggest priorities and programs to be funded under the SLAM and “third-third” portions.
The original Sanchez-Maufas resolution would, among other things, have directed the Superintendent to suggest expenditures for 50% of the third-third, while the PEEF CAC would suggested expenditures for the other 50%. By the time the resolution got through several committees, pretty much no one liked the 50-50 split idea.
At tonight’s meeting, we had a very productive give-and-take with members of the CAC (all of whom deserve a shout-out for their long hours and evident dedication to this thankless and unpaid job). Ultimately, we decided that the CAC’s role is more appropriately that of an information-gathering organization; the “eyes and ears” of the Board that helps us determine what the needs are on the ground and collects data on the results and effectiveness of programs we’ve already funded. This data is essential if we are to convince the voters (who must reauthorize the PEEF in a few years) that we spent their money wisely; AND that it made a difference.
I left the meeting feeling that we made some real progress. The next step is for the Sanchez-Maufas resolution to be revised to incorporate all of tonight’s discussion; then it goes to the full board to be adopted sometime in the next month or so.
In other news: the Budget committee voted to send the Escuela del Pueblo charter petition to the full Board with a negative recommendation. The final vote on whether to grant Escuela del Pueblo a charter will occur at the January 27 meeting of the full Board.