Meeting recap: January 24, 2012

On tonight’s agenda:

  • A resolution commemorating the 100th anniversary of the San Francisco Unified School District’s PTA (the organization’s celebration of that anniversary will be held February 10 at Patio Espanol — more details here – PDF);
  • Highlights of the school district’s (and its partners’) celebration of Black History month this February  — events include the African American Read In,  the African American Honor Roll celebration honoring 1,200 African-American SFUSD students with a GPA of 3.0 or better (February 29 at St. Mary’s Cathedral, 6 p.m. $10 donation requested), as well as the annual oratory contest sponsored by the San Francisco Alliance of Black School Educators (Feb. 25 at Thurgood Marshall High School, 8 a.m. to 12 noon);
  • “Sunshining” of proposals and counter-proposals for contract negotiations with United Administrators of San Francisco and United Educators of San Francisco;
  • Approval of the annual spending plan for the Public Education Enrichment Fund (PEEF) — Commissioners reviewed the plan at last week’s Committee of the Whole meeting, and heard testimony from members of the PEEF Comunity Advisory Committee suggesting that three activities (teacher recruitment, custodial services for early education centers and funding for the district’s new formative assessments) should be funded with other monies (district staff wrote a response to that report here). For more information and lots more documents, visit the  PEEF web site, which asks for a password but seems to let you in if you just click cancel. In the end, the Board appreciated the input but supported the original spending plan suggested by staff.;
  • Review and approval of the district’s annual independent financial audit — there were two minor findings related to attendance accounting in the district’s early education and afterschool programs, but the independent auditor expressed confidence that the findings were being addressed, and commended staff for a growing string of clean audit reports;
  • An overview of the Governor’s budget proposal released earlier this month – probably the only good thing I can say about this proposal is that it is very much not a done deal. For reasons I can’t quite explain, even the “rosy” scenario — where the Governor’s proposed tax increases passes — results in significant additional cuts;
  • Public comment from parents and community members at Alice Fong Yu and Paul Revere,  and introduction by UESF leadership of the union’s bargaining team for upcoming negotiations. A commenter last week asked me why I haven’t devoted much time in the blog to the competing statements of Paul Revere parents, and the reason is:  I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to muse publicly on personnel issues. This whole episode has been ugly and disruptive for everyone involved and I don’t see how it helps for me to “report” allegations from one side or another.  I did feel momentarily shamed by the comment from one Revere parent who noted the district’s swift response to an outcry from Alice Fong Yu parents when they protested changes to their immersion program (after a meeting with the Curriculum Committee and district leadership last week, a deal for a pilot program was struck that will increase the population of English Learners at the school but maintain its essentially “one-way” immersion model — and tonight the community came to thank us for our swift reaction).  Why weren’t we able to resolve the Paul Revere situation in as swift a manner? the Revere parent asked.  The answer is complex — personnel issues usually can’t be resolved in one meeting and certainly not in public; and there is not the same unified perspective in the Paul Revere community  — teachers and parents have  been vocal about their divided opinions on which direction the school should go. Still, he’s right that struggling schools can’t easily summon 100 parents in matching shirts to attend a Board meeting, but their concerns are just as pressing.

3 responses to “Meeting recap: January 24, 2012

  1. many of these “personnel issues” are not. That is the reason why we are so concerned about the board’s movement on this, if not the board, then definitely Mr. Garcia’s as we are a title 1 school under his “special attention.”

    I do not consider a child wetting her pants and there not being a spare change of underwear for her a “personnel issue,” or our behavior plan in which the children of these few parents had a hard time adjusting to, or even unsubstantiated claims of abuse (waving of police reports in public meetings that were found to be unsubstantiated by the police.) I consider the issue of having little support from the district, and the board, the lies spread about the area in which children have their “detention” to the media and the school having little, if any, support from the district supervisor. You came for a visit, right Rachel?

    The fact that a group outside of the district with an agenda to reform schools were allowed your ears for their full two minute and those who support our school were marginalized to a minute is an issue. The fact that many parents were cold called by this group and were solicited by ACCE to cause dissension in the parent body (private information we gave only the school district) is an issue *might* be a personnel issue because obviously a former staff member needs to be reprimanded. The fact that this group and their agenda came to a many aboard meeting, made outlandish accusations, voicing a personal opinion about our principal as fact – with a baseless vendetta attached to remove her – is an issue.

    Although, I admit, if I am ever slighted by a principal, it is nice to know that I can make up bologna and present it to the board’s full attention. And of course, the media will come running. It’s not so interesting listening to success stories, but it sure would be nice to feel like there was support for our school. Volunteers have shied away since their accusations began and our school depends on these people. We have been beaten down by the lies of ACCE in the media. A few of parents and their pant-wetting stories, a loud lunchroom or a teacher’s previous lack of communication with her student’s parents were given more time than our success stories.

    Many will throw in the towel this year. In order to prevent flight, we need support, not to be ripped apart.

  2. Hi @Somamum –
    Just yesterday I asked Commissioner Wynns (who chairs the Student Assignment committee) to schedule a meeting because our monitoring report is overdue. FYI the enrollment deadline is Friday the 27th, but I do recommend trying to turn in your paperwork tomorrow if you possibly can. Usually the lines are very long on the last day. On the other hand, a friend of mine turned in her son’s paperwork this morning and was pleasantly surprised that she was in and out within 30 minutes. Still, the sooner the better!

    I will let you know as soon as a date is scheduled for the monitoring report.

  3. Hi Rachel
    thank you for your timely updates. I’m hoping we can see the final results of 2011-2012 placements sometime soon. I had heard January, and was hoping that the results would be out before the 2012 deadline, but as that doesn’t seem likely (deadline is tomorrow) I wondered if you had any information on when it would be available?

    Best wishes for the New Year