Circumspect Supervisor introduces legislation to
save John Swett Elementary
Levers suspicion at school board motivation
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi
January 25, 2006
District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi announced legislation yesterday
during the Board of Supervisor's meeting, co-sponsored by Supervisor
Daly and Supervisor Ammiano, to save John Swett Elementary from
The SFUSD school board voted 4-3 on January
19 to merge John Swett Elementary with John Muir Elementary.
The announcement comes on the heels of Monday's Government Audit
and Oversight Committee meeting which heard Mirkarimi's ordinance
appropriation request for $5.3 million from the City's general
fund to help stave off school closures.
During Monday's meeting Mirkarimi leveled suspicion at the school
board's motivation to close John Swett.
"You don't penalize a school like John Swett simply because
it has the misfortune of being across the street from the administrative
school offices, and it's the administrative offices who have the
desire for more posh settings," Mirkarimi stated.
With revelopment projects in Hayes Valley expected to increase
population growth in District 5, coupled with John Swett Elementary's
81% enrollment, Mirkarimi called into question the school board's
long range thinking.
"There's no plan unto itself... that shows the absolute
myopic shameful shutdown of John Swett where it had 81% enrollment,
and it is on the back yard of Hayes Valley/Octavia Boulevard which
is repopulating in great strength. If you were to tell me this
is about declining enrollment, I would say that you are absolutely
nuts," Mirkarimi said emphatically.
Contacted by telephone for comment, school board member Mark
Sanchez told the Sentinel that the school board considered moving
their administrative offices into John Swett Elementary in December
"That's what the staff wants to do with it," Sanchez
said, referring to John Swett Elementary.
Sanchez, who voted against the merger, said the criteria for
merging or closing schools was, "never spelled out clearly."
Sanchez reported that the school board is paying $700,000 per
year to lease offices on Harrison and 6th Street which he believes
the SFUSD does not need, more so if John Swett Elementary becomes
the new SFUSD adminstrative offices.
"I have been proposing the closure of the Harrison/6th Street
offices, but so far my proposal is being ignored.
"The bottom line is we have to save money", Sanchez