SFUSD Approves Budget Increase With Help of Boost in State Funding

State funding increases allowed the San Francisco Unified School District board on Tuesday to approve a nearly 10 percent operating budget increase for the next fiscal year, district officials said today.

The $787.5 million operating budget approved by the board for the 2015-2016 fiscal year reflects a nearly 10 percent increase in planned spending over the current year’s budget, officials said.

That increase was made possible largely by a roughly 15 percent increase in state Local Control Funding Formula funds, from $403 million to $465 million. The LCFF is the largest source of state funding for the district.

The increases were welcomed by the district, which along with other state schools faced harsh cuts during the recent recession.

“This is definitely a move in the right direction,” Deputy Superintendent Myong Leigh said in a statement today.

The single largest increase in the budget will be a $22.5 million bump for salaries, bringing the amount spent on employee pay to $276.9 million. That increase will cover a 12 percent raise for teachers over the next three years, according to the district.

In addition, the budget includes $400,000 to hire some temporary workers in student nutrition on a permanent basis.

The budget includes $5.5 million for employee pensions, an amount expected to rise each year due to a state mandate increasing district contributions. By 2021, the district is expected to contribute as much as $24 million more, officials said.

Around $11 million will go for student programs including a new family academy, special education, foster youth services, ethnic studies and college and career readiness, as well as technology initiatives.

The district also approved a Local Control Accountability Plan on Tuesday, which helps demonstrate how the district will spend some of its state funding. The plan, required from all districts by the state, was developed in consultation with the board’s Parent Advisory Council, the District English Learners Advisory Committee and other groups in a series of meetings and public events.

While a state grant previously covered some of the costs of implementing the Common Core curriculum standards, that grant has now expired. This year the district will spend around $6.8 million of its own funds on the process, officials said.

Sara Gaiser, Bay City News

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