The San Francisco Unified School District has been a slow-motion car crash for years.
Declining enrollment, unhappy parents and school board meetings that drone aimlessly into the night? Yep, that sounds like the SFUSD.
But recently we came upon two tipping point moments that we can’t ignore.
First, for all the exasperation about the district, last week’s news had to shock even jaded critics.
The state of California announced that the SFUSD budget was so deep in the red that the state is likely going to take over. This as the district predicts deficits over $100 million, beginning in 2022.
It doesn’t take much calculation to understand the dilemma. The district is not attracting new students, meaning attendance continues to drop, which means less funding, at a time when the district is already unable to pay its bills. It’s not just a vicious circle, it’s a death spiral.
Things are so bad we’ve lost control of our school system. That should get all of our attention.
The second point is actually good news. A confluence of factors, including the likely recall of three members of the school Board, might result in the kind of systemic teardown and rebuild that is clearly needed.