SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Hundreds of San Francisco students and teachers, as well as their supporters, held a lively rally Tuesday afternoon outside of City Hall, as they sought to secure $60 million for their public schools.
The education activists are seeking roughly one third of the city’s $181 million Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund in order to raise teacher wages, making sure that the city’s stock of teachers don’t move to other school districts, attracted by higher wages.READ MORE: Early Morning Earthquake Cluster Rattles Central Coast
The funds became available as part of a $415 million windfall the city received in November. Most of the amount is allocated to various baselines and rainy-day reserves, but roughly $181 million is available to be spent from the city’s general fund on city services.
The ERAF windfall money is much needed, the activists say, as voter-approved Proposition G and Proposition C from last June’s election is being contested in court, along with Proposition C from the November election.
June’s Prop G would make use of a parcel tax to raise teacher salaries, while June’s Prop C earmarks a commercial rent tax for childcare and education. November’s Prop. C earmarks a business tax for homeless initiatives.
Referring to Prop G, Theresa Montano, vice president of the California Teachers Association, said, “The voters of San Francisco have spoken loudly, overwhelmingly, standing beside their educators to say it is time to put funding into our schools. Not $11 million, not $13 million, $60 million.
“This is about community schools. It’s about recruiting and retaining quality educators, so that they can live in the city they teach in,” she said.READ MORE: Oakland Police Intensify Sideshow Crackdown As Violence Escalates
“Although we have a lawsuit challenging these initiatives, we are fortunate to have windfall resources that will help us alleviate the damage caused by these court challenges,” said Supervisor and former Board of Education member Shamann Walton. “We have an opportunity to use $185 million to support the will of the voters.”
Also speaking at the rally, Supervisor Matt Haney, also a former school board member said, “It is a sad day when the families, the kids and the educators of our city have to come here to City Hall and literally go door-to-door to ask for something that is your right, that you deserve.”
Although Prop G is being challenged in court on the basis that it needed a two-thirds majority to be implemented and not a simple majority, the school district already implemented the wage increase for teachers, which, according to the United Educators of San Francisco, has resulted in more teachers being recruited and retained.
Securing the $60 million for schools would help the district maintain the wage increase.
Following the outdoor rally, several education activists entered the Board of Supervisors meeting, erupting in chants and causing the meeting to take a recess.
“I want to thank the people who were just in this chamber. The passionate parents who really do care about our public schools, and I don’t fault any of them for showing their passion,” President of the Board of Supervisors Norman Yee said following the interruption.MORE NEWS: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Shipments Could Arrive As Soon As Monday
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