Back Burnered San Francisco Schools Committee Now Moving To Forefront

Back Burnered San Francisco Schools Committee Now Moving To Forefront

in​ 2018, a​ committee was created with members appointed from the city Board of​ Supervisors and​ the Board of​ Education. in​ the beginning, the committee was used to​ discuss joint concerns on​ issues, such as​ affordable housing for​ teachers, student nutrition, and​ graffiti in​ the San Francisco schools. Unfortunately, the structure of​ the joint committee was a​ matter of​ contention​ from the committee’s inception​ with an​ imbalance of​ power.

The Board of​ Supervisors control the forum. They decide what issues are put on​ the meeting agendas for​ discussion. They have the right to​ make inquiries of​ the San Francisco schools’ officials, who are expected to​ respond to​ all inquiries. Unfortunately, this​ is​ a​ one-way power structure.

The San Francisco schools are funded by the state and​ not accountable to​ city or​ county governments. The structure of​ the committee makes the San Francisco schools’ officials accountable to​ the city’s Board of​ Supervisors and​ doomed from the beginning. Thus, the committee has met rarely in​ the past couple of​ years.

Though the San Francisco schools’ officials and​ city supervisors were scheduled to​ meet twice monthly in​ 2018, it​ did not happen, according to​ Jill Wynns, a​ veteran San Francisco schools’ board member. Unfortunately, 2018 was a​ year the committee was most needed. There were several San Francisco schools issues in​ the forefront last year that caused undue tensions within​ the San Francisco schools and​ the community. There were several closures of​ San Francisco schools, for​ example, as​ well as​ decisions on​ the use of​ voter-approved enrichment funds (from the city) for​ San Francisco schools’ expenditures.

A new committee chairman has been appointed to​ help bring the committee back to​ life. Chairman Bevan Dufty, a​ member of​ the Board of​ Supervisors, is​ promising a​ more mutual relationship within​ the committee to​ build more and​ better communication​ between the two leaderships.

in​ order to​ breath new life into the committee, Dufty plans to​ approach the forum as​ equal partners between the city supervisors and​ the San Francisco schools’ officials, beginning with agenda items. San Francisco schools’ officials now will be able to​ submit requests to​ put issues on​ meeting agendas. Though Dufty still has final say on​ the agenda items and​ there has been no commitment to​ two-way inquiries, this​ is​ a​ major first step toward positive change.

Other members of​ the committee include veteran supervisor Sophie Maxwell, newly appointed supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, veteran San Francisco schools’ official Jill Wynns, and​ newly-elected San Francisco schools’ officials Jane Kim and​ Mydra Mendoza.

It is​ hoped that the infusion​ of​ new people, especially the new chairman, will energize the committee into a​ partnership for​ positive change within​ the San Francisco schools.

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