The San Francisco Unified School District decided it was more important to discuss the renaming of 44 of their schools instead of how to safely get children back into classrooms, even though they are being sued over the delay by the City Attorney’s Office.
The San Francisco Board of Education and the SFUSD were both slapped with a lawsuit by City Attorney Dennis Herrera after they failed to come up with a valid plan to reopen classrooms in public schools once again to 54,000 students. The suit contends that they have had ten months to come up with a plan but haven’t done so. San Francisco’s 110 private schools reopened last September but the public schools remain closed. That lawsuit was expanded last week in an attempt to force the school board to handle the issue of reopening the schools.
The Board of Education has instead opted to focus on renaming 44 schools due to their “white supremacy.” They find the names of the schools offensive. It is not known why the board could not handle both the renaming of the schools and the talks to reopen classrooms at the same time.
The decision to rename schools that have honored those such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln will cost the school district between $400,000 and $1 million in changes to school signs, uniforms, and other branded items.
(Video Credit: NBC Bay Area)
An education reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle is alleging that the obsessive handling of the renaming of the schools has to do with some sort of legal issue.
The SFUSD school board vote on a tentative labor deal on health and safety reopening requirements has been delayed. Instead, the board will be in closed session tonight over a legal issue, reportedly related to the renaming of 44 schools. It's unclear why the board can't do both.
— Jill Tucker (@jilltucker) February 16, 2021
Evidently, the School Names Advisory Committee made errors in their research when looking into school namesakes. Sanchez Elementary was chosen for renaming because they thought the school was named after an early 1800s Spanish missionary. In reality, city records indicate that the school was named after Francisco Sanchez, San Francisco’s eighth mayor.
It is unknown if these research errors are actually the basis for the legal issue in question.
Fox News is reporting that there are even more legal woes ahead: “The city’s board of education faces new allegations of violating students’ rights to attend public schools under the state’s Constitution, discriminating against students on the basis of wealth – as only costly private schools have reopened – and violating the state’s law to “offer in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible.”‘
“The reality is 54,000 public school children are suffering across our city,” Herrera lamented. “Just sticking with the status quo and hoping the district came up with an effective plan wasn’t working.”
March 22 has been set as the date for a hearing to review the emergency order. The board is now slated to continue talks with the teachers union concerning reopening public schools on Feb. 23.
The SF Board of Education moved its regular agenda from Feb 16 to Feb 23. Moving the meeting does not result in any delay in planning for & preparing to reopen school sites. The Board will likely ratify the tentative agreement with unions and SFUSD is preparing accordingly.
— SF public schools (@SFUnified) February 17, 2021
Parental frustration is boiling over in regards to reopening the schools in San Francisco. A new political action committee has been formed that will target the school board for a potential recall among a list of other proposed options.
The Washington Examiner is reporting: “The Campaign for Better Public Schools, launched by the Families for San Francisco PAC, is exploring options to make long-lasting changes to San Francisco Unified School District. That could include recalling current school board members, placing a charter amendment to make them mayoral appointees on the ballot, another charter amendment dividing school board seats up by supervisorial districts, or simply running candidates to defeat incumbents.”
“We’re going to explore options,” stated Patrick Wolff, Families for San Francisco chief strategist. “At a minimum, we want a better school board. There’s really a crisis of government at the moment and we certainly want to address that. We want to see if we can use this moment and groundswell to make longer-lasting, more fundamental reform for the betterment of [public schools.]”
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