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San Fran school board approves big raises; then projects $610 million deficits

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(The Center Square) – The San Francisco Unified School District is projecting a combined spending deficit of almost $611 million in the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years after giving out what it called “historic” pay increases to staff.

The district estimates it will rack up a $194.4 million deficit in 2024-25 and a $420.5 million deficit in 2025-26, according to reports provided by the district at the Dec. 12 Board of Education meeting.

A week earlier, the district announced it was giving out “historic raises for educators.”

The raises included a $9,000 salary increase for teachers in 2023-24. Teachers will get another 5% raise in 2024-25. The district had 3,550 teachers in 2022-23. The school board also approved a 6% salary increase in 22-23 and a 10% salary increase in 2023-24 for members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021.

The school board approved those raises at the Dec. 12 meeting. At the same meeting, the board received the projections of a $190.4 million deficit in 2023-24 and the $420.5 million deficit in 2024-25.

The district acknowledged in June 2021 that it had to use federal emergency money from the COVID pandemic to balance its budget that year.

In June 2021, the district stated: “SFUSD expects to receive $140 million in federal stimulus funding that will help welcome students back with increased academic and wellness support in the fall and will help address a budget deficit of $100.2 million.”

The district said that in 2023 it was eliminating 927 positions for a savings of $40 million.

Enrollment fell by over 4,000 students throughout the previous decade, from 52,989 students in 2012-13 to 48,907 in 2022-23. The district expects another loss of over 4,600 students by 2032, as previously reported by The Center Square.

The news comes as the district faces the stark possibility of cuts to state funding after the Legislative Analysts office projected a $68 billion deficit for the 2024-2025 fiscal year and the California Department of Finance ordered a spending freeze across all state agencies for the remainder of the ongoing 2023-2024 fiscal year.

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