Updates on odds and ends

Updates are due on a number of issues, including:

  • Progress on the Board’s evaluation of our new Superintendent;
  • News on the Governor’s weighted student formula proposal (now called the Local Control Funding Formula, or LCCF); and
  • A proposed local hiring policy that was discussed by the Board’s Buildings and Grounds committee this evening.

Superintendent’s Evaluation:  Since hiring Richard Carranza as our Superintendent, we (the Board and Mr. Carranza) have been working on the Superintendent’s evaluation tool. Evaluating the Superintendent is probably the most important thing a school board does, and since I took my seat in 2008 we have worked on various ways of evaluating the Superintendent — struggling to find an evaluation tool that acknowledges the difficulty of the job, represents both consensus and outlier views on the Superintendent’s performance and conveys the Board’s uniformly high expectations for the  management of the district. Board members have always provided confidential written evaluations of the Superintendent, and we will continue to do this. This year, however, and going forward during Superintendent Carranza’s tenure, the Board and Superintendent have established quantitative performance measurements that we will use to hold the leadership team accountable for progress on key priorities and incorporate into the Board’s overall evaluation of the Superintendent.  This is an important step forward in our commitment to transparency and the district’s stated goal to keep our promises to students and families. 

Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF): There have been many news stories in recent weeks about this proposal, and Sacramento insiders say the likelihood of its passing in its proposed form is unlikely. It’s true that the LCFF proposal — if it is fully-implemented — represents a big increase (almost $4,000 per student) in funding for SFUSD and other districts with large numbers of high-poverty, English Learner students. But in a briefing by our Capitol legislative advocates last week, members of the Board’s Rules, Policy and Legislation committee were told that the Governor’s figures represent a best-case scenario that isn’t coming true anytime soon. Though I am in favor of overhauling California’s school funding mechanisms, and believe in the weighted student formula approach, I’m not holding my breath.  To learn more, here are some good online resources:

Proposed local hiring policy: Last but not least, the Buildings and Grounds Committee had a substantive discussion of a proposal (PDF; as originally introduced, without amendments incorporated) by Commissioners Yee and Fewer (Commissioner Haney has also signed on as a co-author) that would direct the Superintendent to put forward a local hiring policy for Board approval. This has been somewhat controversial — partly because it requires a narrow, carefully crafted approach to construction contracting that does not run afoul of state and Federal laws, and partly because it is a hot button issue that inevitably raises issues of race and economic power. The City passed its own local hiring policy back in 2010, which will eventually mandate that 50 percent of jobs on City contracts go to local residents. The Yee/Fewer/ Haney resolution, as amended by the Committee this evening, would require that the district’s policy provide additional opportunity to minority- and women-owned businesses, strengthen the district’s internship programs for students interested in a career in the building trades, as well as many other objectives. There are specific policy prescriptions in the resolution that we have been advised are not possible within the current legal framework, so there is still a lot of work to be done to fulfill the spirit of the resolution while maintaining a bond construction program that is legally compliant and produces high-quality projects, on-time and under-budget. 

Tomorrow night: the Board votes on the Superintendent’s request to issue layoff notices to 114 administrators, classified staff and certificated educators.

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One response to “Updates on odds and ends

  1. Hi Rachel, please pass a resolution on the Board to insure that Title 1 funding in San Francisco goes to all deserving Title 1 students. Currently, the SFUSD uses an arbitrarily high weighted student formula to determine a school’s eligibility (61.1% free or reduced lunch), which is far removed from Federal guidelines (40% free or reduced lunch). As a result, our District has inequitable distribution of funds and denies a significant number of students the extra funding that they deserve simply because of where they ended up being assigned in the school lottery (also arbitrary, beyond one’s control).

    We can do better. We should be able to guarantee “Title 1 funding for all Title 1 students.” Here is excerpt from Beyond Chron School Beat article of same title (Lisa Schiff, May 2012) (http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=10123):

    “This is demonstrated exceptionally clearly in the middle school strand, where large student body counts result in lower percentages of low-income students, even though the actual number of low-income students is large. None of the four largest middle schools – Aptos, Giannini, Hoover and Presidio – qualifies as a Title 1 school, yet each of those schools has more low-income students than any of the Title 1 qualifying middle schools, except for Marina, and they are all over the 40% threshold referenced in the Title 1 legislation. Rubbing salt in the wounds, Aptos and Hoover are each less than 10 individual students shy of qualifying for our district’s high 61.1% threshold. Looking at aggregated numbers, 3457 low-income middle school students are rightfully receiving extra support from Title 1 funds, while 2488 students with that same income status are not receiving what they are due, simply because they happen to attend large schools.”

    What does this mean? This means that a Title 1 student assigned to Lick gets their Title 1 funding, whereas a Title 1 student assigned to Hoover, Giannini, Presidio, or Aptos does not, even though these schools have significant proportions of Title 1 students and meet the Federal guidelines for funding.

    We need a SFUSD policy that lets the Title 1 funding follow the students, and we need to scrap the District’s arbitrary weighted student formula.

    Thank you, JR