What’s happening – January 2014

Apparently feeling guilty about not posting does not actually result in an actual blog post. So now I am trying another tactic: actually sitting down to post. Here we go:

  • First – January Board meeting recaps. Our first meeting of the new year occurred on January 14. The Board elected new officers, voting Sandra Lee Fewer as President and Emily Murase as Vice President. I enjoyed being President — it is a very interesting and information-packed position — but it is also very time-consuming, so I was also not sorry to hand over the mantle of responsibility to others. The Board voted unanimously to support the Superintendent’s proposal to create a district-wide and world-class arts education hub at 135 Van Ness Ave (which would also involve moving the Ruth Asaway High School of the Arts to the Civic Center arts hub). Finally, the Board also voted to endorse, 5-2 (Mendoza-McDonnell and Maufas voting no), the sugary beverage tax that Supervisors Wiener, Mar, Avalos and Cohen will introduce at the Board of Supervisors on Feb. 4.*  On January 28 (full disclosure: I did not attend the meeting due to a bad cold), the Board voted to accept the Superintendent’s spending plan for $50 million in Public Education Enrichment (Prop. H) Funds for 2014-15 — not much else of note was on the agenda and the meeting was over within 90 minutes (nice going President Fewer!).
  • Surplus property presentation at Board of Supervisors Select Committee, Jan 30: Conventional wisdom says that SFUSD has lots of property that it is “hoarding” to the detriment of the City and kids everywhere. No offense, but WRONG. This presentation, delivered by SFUSD Facilities Director David Goldin at the request of Supervisor Jane Kim and members of the City-School District Select Committee, shows that most of the properties previously-declared surplus by the school district are very much in use today. A few, like the lots at 7th Ave. and Lawton St., 200 Middlepoint Road in Bayview-Hunters Point, or the Principal’s Center on 42nd Ave., have development potential. Most, however, are either serving an educational use or generating revenue — $7 million anticipated for the 2014 calendar year.
  • Stanford Longitudinal Study on efficacy of SFUSD programs for English Learners:  I haven’t heard the commentary on this data so I am simply posting the summaries I’ve been given by staff; the Board will receive a briefing sometime soon on this study and after that I will have more observations. My initial sense, in reviewing these summaries, is one of relief. I have been quite worried that we have invested too much in programs with  limited efficacy for English Learners. This data — at least as summarized here — indicates that those concerns might be misplaced. I want to see more and hear from the researchers before I can say for sure. Until then, you know what I know:

That’s about it for now. An outstanding issue concerns the district’s plans for spending funds allocated by the Governor’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), and our work to implement our Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP).  Districts are required to hold public meetings as part of the LCAP implementation, and I’ll update the blog as soon as I know what those plans are.
In the meantime, the Budget & Business Services Committee meets the first Wednesday of every month (next meeting scheduled — not confirmed — for Feb. 5).  Attending the monthly committee meetings is the best way to keep up with what is happening with the LCAP and the school district’s budget planning.




5 responses to “What’s happening – January 2014

  1. The number of potential students will also hinge greatly on the number of 2 and 3 bedroom units v. studios and 1 bedrooms, which are vastly more profitable. That’s not something that’s really in the school board’s control. But I think even those paying market rate for housing would consider public school if it was conveniently located. Maybe the district needs to get creative and build a high-rise school with a gym, theater and cafeteria on the top floor and a wonderful playground on the top!

  2. Willie Brown MS comes back online for the 2015-16 school year, and that will provide more capacity for an area that needs it. But based on the demographic studies the Board has seen in the past year, it’s sad to realize that much of the new housing you’re referencing is market rate and not expected to house families whose children will attend public schools. There is a formula the demographers recommend for projecting future enrollment based on the housing units in the pipeline — something less than 1 child for every two units planned/under construction if memory serves. 😦 I think I wrote a post about this in the spring or summer of last year.

  3. This is tangential to the surplus property discussion, but has there been any discussion of situating new schools South of Market where most of the new housing units (should they ever materialize) are planned?

  4. Thanks for the update! I’ve been feeling out of the loop. And don’t feel guilty… it happens to the best of us 😉

  5. Thanks Rachel for keeping this blog going despite your busy schedule.

    I attended the Language Pathway Forum where Professor Reardon and two of his graduate students presented the results, and District staff members hosted round table discussions on the findings. Overall, many people found the graphs on the flyers to be confusing. The CELDT data suggests that English Plus may be best for ELs overall, while the CST data suggests that Dual Immersion may be best in the long term. Prof. Reardon clarified that for the CST graphs, each division of 0.1 corresponds to about 5 points, with 0.0 corresponding to about 350.