Parents Speak Out On Prop H "In Kind'" Services

“The intent of this charter amendment was to create, with oversight, a channel for our very wealthy City to support its cash-starved schools. That intent gets most obviously met with dollars. Enumerating the ways in which the city has already been providing services that are beneficial to its children and their schools does not move us very far along the path to expanded academic programs. Nor does substituting substantial amounts of in-kind services for cash in the absence of any necessity to do so accomplish much more than show how much muscle the City can exert.”

— Lisa Schiff, SFUSD parent and volunteer, writing in BeyondChron

“(Officials) agreed among themselves that 2.5 million dollars of Prop. H money (you know the money that 72% of the voters decided should go to increase funding for school children) would be called in-kind donation of existing services! … What is it about kids, that our politicians are so comfortable taking money away from them?”

— Novella Smith, SFUSD parent and member, Prop. H Citizens Advisory Committee

“The San Francisco PTA was an early and strong supporter of Proposition H, the Public Education Enrichment Fund. I am fearful that the remarkable partnership between our City and our School District is at risk by this debate over in-kind services. The voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition H because they asked a simple question:
Will this improve our schools and the lives of our children? They voted for Proposition H guided by a clear statement in the voter manual:

‘The Fund would be used to increase, rather than replace, existing City funding for public education.’

The question is NOT should we set aside $2.5 million for in-kind services and how do we define those services. The question should be the same question the voters asked when they went to the polls. Let’s first ask, ‘what do we need to improve our schools and the lives of our children’ before locking both the district and the City into an arbitrary number that may not in fact reflect the best educational decision for our students.”

–Carl Barnes, Second District of the California State PTA, President, and SFUSD parent

“Since its overwhelming approval by San Francisco voters, Proposition H has made a significant impact on our schools and classrooms. My children’s school now has art resources that we were not able to afford just a few years ago. Our library which had lain dormant for years, now has a credentialed librarian! This, and so much more, are basics that ALL children deserve to develop into educated adults. It is imperative that any in-kind services being provided by the city that are counting towards Proposition H resources be NEW and that this be part of the language of any agreement between the City of San Francisco and the SFUSD.”

— Lorraine Woodruff-Long, SFUSD parent and Executive Director, Parents for Public Schools

“Trying to count — or redefine — pre-existing services as Prop. H support shortchanges schools and children, and subverts the will of the voters. In addition, the city is attempting to define many non-education-related services provided to the community’s children as “in-kind services to the schools.” That’s not right. Health care, mental health, nutrition, social services, safety, policing, gang and violence prevention — even transportation — are not “in-kind services to the schools.” Those are services the community provides to the community’s children.”

— Caroline Grannan, SFUSD parent, volunteer and advocate

“Looks like the new BOE majority … is trying to pull a fast one that will cost SFUSD and its students millions of dollars. … Obviously the backers of this resolution feel they can get away with this without anyone noticing. How on earth could they face the voters who passed Prop H overwhelmingly and explain this? … As BOE commissioners it is hard to fathom how they can honestly explain why they let Prop H opponents rob the district of millions of dollars.”

— KC Jones, SFUSD parent and blogger

“I urge you to take every necessary precaution to ensure that not one penny of the money which should be going to support our children’s education be sacrificed just to make peace with the Board of Supervisors. $2.5 million a year may not seem like much out of a $60 million total, but to paraphrase Everett Dirksen, ‘”A million here, a million there, and pretty soon you are talking about real money!” ”

— Dana Woldow, SFUSD parent and healthy school food advocate

“As a mother of children who have been in both private and public schools, and as a professor at San Francisco State University, I am very concerned about the potential loss of funds to schools if the City substitutes “in-kind” services for funds in order to
satisfy the Proposition H obligation to schools. The schools are struggling to educate our kids – at the very least, I urge you to modify this proposal by substituting “new” in-kind services for funds.”

— Debra Fischer, SFUSD parent and Professor, San Francisco State University

“It is a great sport to try and understand the motivation of voters, and one should be wary of trying, but…Prop H was not passed so that the City could take credit for the money they were already providing to the City’s children. This money should be “New” money from the City. There have been many valid disputes about the Prop H money.
The BoS is properly given oversight and they can deny funds that they perceive as wasteful or outside the bounds of the initial Proposition. Nonetheless, they should not be allowed to decide to not give funds that don’t meet their (watch out: politics in action) ridiculous requirement of In-Kind Services. People need to stand up and tell the BoS that they shouldn’t be stealing (oh, I’m sorry, reallocating resources away) from kids.”

–Alan Geist, Voter and Parent of Two SFUSD Students

“These kids need every drop of funding for their schools they can possibly get! Please support full funding of Prop H with new money and new in kind services, not existing services.”

— Maria Goodavage, SFUSD parent

“I voted for Prop H in 2004, even though all the naysayers pointed out that Mr. Ammiano had deliberately left parts of the proposition vague, to allow for some discretion on the part of the powers that be. I did it for the students who are greatly underserved in California, and more specifically in San Francisco, not because I have any great trust in the judgment demonstrated by either the B of S or the B of Ed. But, even given my wariness, I never suspected the latest plan to weasel out of the voters’ intentions to add services to the schools by redefining previous programs as “in-kind services” that meet the intentions of the Proposition. This plan serves to diminish the proposition’s funding by millions of dollars, rather than let those greedy, grasping, thieving children have it to further their education. It is grand to see you stand up to those horrible, stupid children. However, most of those children do have parents, grandparents, guardians and others who do vote, so this plan may have not been fully thought out.”

— Rob Jacobsen, SFUSD parent

“I am a public school parent who strongly supported Prop H because it provides much-needed NEW money to our schools. Since Prop H was passed, at my sons’ school (Rooftop), Prop H funds support our arts, music, library and athletics — all important parts of our children’s education. I understand there is a proposal to cut Prop H funding by as much as $2.5 million — by counting EXISTING in-kind support for schools as part of the City’s Prop H obligation. That is illegal and wrong. The letter and spirit of Prop H is clear. We voted to INCREASE school funding through Prop H. I urge you support our schools — and to strongly support NEW funding and NEW in-kind support for our schools.”

— Cliff Staton, Rooftop PTA President and SFUSD parent

“Although the question immediately before the Board of Supervisors is whether the City can escape its obligation to INCREASE funding to the SFUSD by substituting services which the City has been providing to the SFUSD for years, this is not the first time the City has reneged on its obligations under Prop H. For example, the Board of Supervisors approved the Board of Education’s diversion of the initial Prop H funding intended for Sports, Library, Art and Music to raises for cafeteria workers and similar employees.

The promises of Prop H have yet to be met. Our children are suffering. The will of the voters of San Francisco who approved this carve-out of the City’s budget to provide additional funding for San Francisco schoolchildren to bolster Sports, Libraries, Art and Music has been thwarted. It is time for the Board of Supervisors to take a leadership role and get the Prop H money into the classrooms of San Francisco’s public schools where it belongs. It is time for our children to have their Sports, Libraries, Arts and Music programs restored.

The Board of Supervisors must do the following to keep the promises of Prop H:

  1. Insist that all funding — whether cash or in-kind services— be NEW funding, as the Proposition mandates;

  2. See that Prop H funding be directed to the School Site Councils (SSCs) to eliminate needless waste and bureaucracy and to allow the teachers, administrators and parents of each school to meet the needs of our children directly and efficiently.”
— Boots Whitmer, Attorney, Former School Site Council member and Chair, public school volunteer and parent

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