SFUSD faces $421 million deficit; district could cut more than 900 vacant jobs

SFUSD is tackling a major budget deficit. At the same time, teachers are expected to get a big pay raise.

BySuzanne Phan KGO logo
Wednesday, December 13, 2023
SFUSD faces $421M deficit; district could cut more than 900 jobs
Some major cuts could soon be coming to the San Francisco Unified School District.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Some major cuts could soon be coming to the San Francisco Unified School District.

It's facing a $421 million shortfall in the next few years and the superintendent is calling for cutting 927 jobs.

The school superintendent says those positions are already vacant and cutting those positions will save $103 million annually.

Those vacant positions include teachers, custodians, central office staff and administrators.

San Francisco Unified School District is tackling a major budget deficit. At the same time, teachers are expected to get a big pay raise.

MORE: SFUSD looking at cost-cutting measures as enrollment continues to decline

During a presentation Tuesday night, the district revealed that they have lost 4,000 students since 2012 and expect to lose another 4,600 in the next nine years. Here's why parents are worried.

On Tuesday night, the Board of Education is expected to approve an interim budget to make it all work.

According to projections, the SFUSD budget deficit will be $421 million by 2025.

"That's just an illustration of what would happen if the board did not take action. In fact, by the board taking action, we will show we have a balance budget by the end of 2025-2026," said Superintendent Matt Wayne.

That action to be taken at Tuesday night's board meeting includes cutting already vacant positions.

"One of the reasons we can eliminate vacant positions is because we have declining enrollment," said Wayne.

MORE: SF teachers, parents claim school district involved in years of 'financial mismanagement'

Concerned teachers, parents and community allies say San Francisco schools aren't being built up, but rather broken down by "financial mismanagement."

The superintendent will look at other areas to help balance the budget.

"We have a few other areas that we are looking at, like where we spend money on consultants, on the district office, how we are staffing our schools, we will be looking at that through our budget planning process," said Wayne.

ABC7 News asked the Superintendent if he planned to close schools or lay off staff. He said no.

He says at Tuesday's meeting, the first action is to approve the elimination of those vacant jobs.

Then, the school board can approve the salary increase.

In October, San Francisco Unified School District agreed to pay teachers and staff more.

We asked the Superintendent about the distressed payroll system---if it will be scrapped or if a decision will be made. He said people are getting paid.

"We are in a much better place now than a year ago when I declared a payroll state of emergency. We are looking at moving forward, what is the system that will best meet our needs. We are not making any decisions right now," said Wayne. "There are still issues that we are reconciling but it has gone down 10-fold since a year ago."

MORE: SF school district starts new year with massive teacher shortage

The new school year for the San Francisco Unified School district began Wednesday with a large shortage of teachers.

"We will continue to advocate for the fully-staffed schools our students deserve and fight any cuts that attempt to balance budget deficits on the backs of our students and schools," said Cassondra Curiel, president of UESF, the teachers union.

Curiel said the school district has a history of financial mismanagement.

"By stopping unnecessary expenditures, increasing revenue of certain properties, the district could save millions by stopping certain borrowing practices, leasing unused properties and raising the market rent on entities like PGE," said Curiel.

The Superintendent says the Board of Education will vote to approve the pay increases for teachers and staff.

Then the budgeting process for the 2024 to 2025 school year starts in January and goes through June.

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