SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/BCN) — The San Francisco school board voted unanimously to rescind their controversial decision to rename 44 schools in the district Tuesday night.
The 6-0 vote puts to rest a controversial resolution to rename schools bearing such names as Lincoln, Washington and Feinstein that set off a firestorm of controversy.
The vote also disbands the School Names Committee, the advisory panel that recommended the specific schools to be renamed.
The board was also looking at a resolution to return to full-time in-person learning in the fall, but parents say officials are still focused on the wrong things.
“It’s not okay that we are putting politics before children. Again and again, you see our school board focused on other things, focused on things that don’t involve the best interests of our children. We need to change that yesterday,” said Meredith Willa Dodson, parent and member of Decrease the Distance, a school re-opening advocacy group.
Outside of district headquarters on Franklin Street, students and parents gathered to beg for middle and high school campuses to re-open now.
“I don’t know any of my teachers. I used to be a really great student and this year I’ve lost all of my motivation,” said Mission High senior Ella Moaz.
This all comes as board member Allison Collins, who the board stripped of her Vice President role and committee assignments over tweets some viewed as racist, has levied a multi-million dollar suit against her fellow board members.
“There is a potential first amendment claim there. But I don’t think it’s likely to be successful at all because she’s in a policy making position,” said UC Davis Professor of Law Ash Bhagwat.
Parents behind a recall effort of the board say they’re focused on the wrong thing.
“The most important thing for the school board do to is to educate our children, that is their one job and they seem to have completely lost sight of that,” said Siva Raj of Recall the SF School Board.
Paul Scott, the attorney who brought suit over the school renaming says the board is not listening to people.
“We sent them letters that what they had done was inconsistent with the law and how they could fix, but they just ignored letters and we had to file suit,” Scott told KPIX.
The meeting comes 24 hours after SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews, who fought a successful court battle with city officials over his reopening plan, announced he was delaying his planned resignation by a year until at least June 2022.
Matthews, who became superintendent in 2017, had announced he would step down in June 2021. But after discussions with SF Board of Education President Gabriela López, he has agreed to remain serving as superintendent for another year.
“Right now, it’s time for the San Francisco school board to focus,” Lopez said in a news release. “It’s still our goal to get all of our students back to in-person learning, and stabilize our budget as soon as possible. Far from shying away from this challenge, we are ready to do this.”