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Legal challenge to SF teacher raises

I’m livid. San Francisco, the most expensive city in the US, recently voted to give teachers like myself an 11% raise over two years.

It has been challenged. Blah blah blah, taxes.

Also note that Twitter got tax breaks when deciding to build their headquarters here.

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The part where they’re trying to preserve our benefits and raises “to the extent possible” is chilling. I hear people smarter than me say it will work out, but I have less faith than they do.

Here’s the letter we received from the Superintendent of SFUSD:

December 10, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to share some updates related to our district revenue sources for employee salary raises and other critical needs.

In June 2018, San Francisco voters approved a measure called Proposition G (Prop G), which created a parcel tax to provide revenue for educator salaries and other targeted high-needs funding priorities in SFUSD. Given the passage of this measure, SFUSD began issuing additional salary raises this fall with a contingency plan in place should Prop G be legally challenged.

At the end of November we learned that Proposition G received a legal challenge. This means that, like other similar recent tax measures passed by more than half, but less than two-thirds of San Francisco voters, the fate of this critical revenue source will likely be tied up for years in the courts and it appears SFUSD will not receive any funds collected under Prop G until the litigation is resolved.

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As the Proposition G legal challenge unfolds, the City and County of San Francisco recently announced a large increase in property tax revenues, resulting in a surplus to the City’s Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF). While a portion of these funds is earmarked to the district for the Public Education Enrichment Fund and the Rainy Day Reserve, this allocation represents only a small percentage of the overall ERAF surplus. While San Francisco’s tax base is enormous relative to most California counties and our cost of living is the state’s highest, SFUSD is funded using the same formula as districts in lower-cost areas like Bakersfield and Redding.

We are asking the Mayor and Board of Supervisors to share a greater percentage of the ERAF funds to help us maintain our educators’ salaries and benefits. While I understand that our City officials are considering a long list of worthy and pressing needs, I believe our community would support allocating a greater percentage of the ERAF funds to help us bridge the funding gap.

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I wanted to share this important update with you as it affects all of us. I also want to assure you that the Board and I are committed to maintaining current employee salary and benefits to the extent possible. I hope that the Mayor and Supervisors will count this among their priorities as they consider how to allocate ERAF funds.

Sincerely,

Dr. Vincent Matthews

Superintendent

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