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4.19.05

Request for Information from the SFUSD

By Kim Knox

In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.

The opening paragraph of the Ralph M. Brown Act

On April 16 by registered mail, I sent a letter to SFUSD requesting under the CA Public Documents Act information on the SFUSD budget that was presented in "Recommended Budget for FY 2004-2005."

I had submitted a letter at the San Francisco Board of Education's Budget and Business Services Committee on March 15 requesting the same information. Even though I was assured by the Chief of Policy and Planning that I would receive a response by April 12, I have yet to receive one.

Here are excerpts from the letter sent on March 15 and under registered mail on April 16, under the California Public Documents Act:

High Personnel Cost

No Child Left Beyond (NCLB)-Title 1 Parent Involvement Resource 30108, page 53. The budget shows that SFUSD has one person making $288,836. Is this position being cut in FY 05-06 to help meet SFUSD's projected $10 million deficit?

Improving America's Schools Act (IASA)-Title IV Drug-Free School Resource 37100, page 83, has one certified person making $237,000 with a total benefit package of $41,170. What is the title of this position? What is the job description of this position? How many people is this position supervising? Is this position being cut in FY 05-06?

Staff Development Beginning Teachers Resource 72800, General Education 1110, page 107, shows two classified personnel for a total of $242,041 in salaries, for an average salary per person of $120,000. What is the percentage of time that these positions are spending in the schools, doing staff development with beginning teachers?

Targeted Instruction Improvement Grant (TIIG) Resource 70450 for Elementary Schools, page 140, shows that the 16 certified personnel made an average of $105,500 each for a total salary cost of $1,666,806. This is the equivalent of the salary of 30-32 teachers. Again, what is the percentage of time that these positions are spending in the classroom with elementary teachers and students? Are these positions being cut in FY 05-06?

Middle School Dept. 402 Resource 70450, page 142, shows a salary of $311,331 with a benefits package of $39,539. It doesn't specify the number of FTE, but with the size of benefit package, it looks like it could be just one person. What is the title of this position? What is the job description of this position? How many people is this position supervising? Is this position being cut in FY 05-06?

High Schools Dept. 402 Resource 70450, page 143, shows a person at .850 FTE (approx. 35 hours per week) making $414,953 with benefits at $61,875. If this is true, this is the highest paid position of not only the SFUSD but, from my records, the entire government structure in the City and County of San Francisco. What is the title of this position? What is the job description of this position? How many people is this position supervising? Is this position being cut in FY 05-06? Are there any plans for salary reduction for this position?

Legal Office Dept. 250, page 126, spent 87% of its budget ($1,644,360 + $600,200) on services and other operating expenditures. What are their expenditures for services and other operating services? Why is such a large portion of their budget spent on these two areas? If it is a work order for outside attorneys, how much is the School District paying per hour for outside attorneys?

Books and Supplies

On page 111, the Chief Business Officer Dept. 200 has a budget of $104,460 for books and supplies. (The other offices are averaging $15,000 to $20,000.) Why does the Chief Business Officer need a budget for books and supplies that is approximately the size of the book budget for a branch library in San Francisco? What items are being purchased by this budget amount?

I realize that the San Francisco School District's personnel are facing a difficult month with school closures, budget, and determination of the district's future school selection process. But the district's budget should be presented in a way that is transparent to the shareholders of San Francisco. And again, I first requested this information on March 15 prior to the deadlines of the budget and school closures.

I'll keep the San Francisco Call's readers updated on whether the San Francisco Unified School District responds to my request.