Painful Budget Cuts Coming to SFUSD

San Francisco Unified staff released a plan this week to help cut $125 million from the budget. The blueprint is causing education advocates plenty of heartburn.

The plan calls for slashing $50 million from schools, $10 million from direct services, $10 million from indirect services, $15 million from operations and another $5 million from the administration. 360 school jobs and another 55 jobs at the central office are on the line. $10 million would be cut from programs like JROTC and special education.

The cuts would impact everyone, but special education advocates say it would affect children with special needs most of all.

“I am flabbergasted and terrified by the idea of cuts to special education,” Chris Clauss, a special education teacher at George Washington High School, said. “My colleagues are already overwhelmed as it is. The needs of my students are higher in this post-distance learning and continuing pandemic learning situation.” 

Clauss was one of many to raise concerns during the public comment period. Myong Leigh, deputy superintendent of policy and operations, said she understands the concerns.

“Special education services are essential, they are costly. We don’t take that lightly at all. The costs are increasing and the program has, for decades, been really underfunded.”

SFUSD has a $125-million budget hole to fill and is staring down a possible takeover by the state. The district must come up with a plan to balance its budget by Dec. 15. A final balanced budget is due by June 2022.


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