Tonight’s agenda was straightforward without much in the way of Board business or debate. The Board unanimously passed Commissioner Fewer’s resolution recommitting the district to its pledge to keep student information safe from military recruiters and the Joint Advertising Market Research Studies (JAMRS) database they access. Oakland Unified and Berkeley Unified have recently passed similar resolutions.
But a simmering controversy over the district’s pension offerings for paraprofessionals has boiled over in recent days and several dozen paraprofessionals and teachers rallied before the Board meeting to demand that the district address the problems with their retirement plan. Essentially, and without revealing the substance of continuing, confidential negotiations between UESF and the district, SFUSD and UESF negotiated an agreement in 1992 that took paraprofessionals out of Social Security and put them in a private retirement plan. Though UESF agreed to this plan and its members ratified that agreement, it is now apparent to everyone that our employees would have been better off had they stayed in Social Security. However, there are different opinions about how to address this wrong, what the district’s legal liability is, and even about whether our employees themselves might bear some future liability. In short, it’s a mess, but one that involves the real lives and futures of valued SFUSD employees.