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Tardy appearance by school district representative miffs supervisors

Public education enrichment fund hearing continued

By Aldrich M. Tan

May 11, 2006

Hearings will continue next Wednesday at the Budget and Finance Committee regarding allocation for the Public Education Enrichment Fund to the San Francisco Unified School District next fiscal year.

Deputy controller Monique Zmuda said the Controller's Office will be presenting a report next week on possible in-kind services to the school district that could substitute for cash-funding for the next two fiscal years.

In-kind services are services that government agencies provide to the school district, such as the Wellness Initiative through the Department of Public Health and the proposed city funding to air the school board hearings on SFGTV, Zmuda said.

The hearing took place at the end of the committee meeting because the school district spokesperson arrived late to the meeting. The clerk of the Board called for the specific item at approximately 2:27 p.m.

"There are no representatives of the school district present," Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi observed.

"Where is the school district?" Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said. "This is ridiculous."

Minutes later, Nancy Waymack, school district spokeswoman, dashed into the room as the committee moved to continue the item to next week.

Waymack said she was surprised about how quickly the item came up for discussion.

"I was watching the hearing at the school board building on SFGTV," Waymack said. "I ran across the street to City Hall as fast as I could."

Approved in 2004, the Public Education Enrichment Fund allocates funding to the school district from the general fund starting with $10 million during 2005-2006 and increasing every succeeding fiscal year, Zmuda said.

One-third of the fund goes to the arts, music, sports and library programs, Zmuda said. Another third of the fund goes to preschool programs through the First Five Commission. And another-third of the fund goes to education programs and other general uses.

The school district estimates that this year's funds will have a carryover of $1.2 million to the next fiscal year in arts, sports, music and library programs portion. Those funds will be distributed as site allocations to middle and high schools to support physical education, libraries, arts and music, Waymack said.

Waymack said the school district would use the next year's Enrichment Fund allocations to create 100 new preschool spaces, and to fund $6.6 million of sports, arts, libraries and music programs next year,

The school district also plans to allocate $2.28 million of the Enrichment Fund to increase teacher salaries, as the result of a tentative agreement between the school district and the United Educators of San Francisco April 2006, Waymack said.

The school district requested for a total of $4.1 million will be allocated from this year and next year's Enrichment Fund to support the pay increase, Waymack said.

"That allocation will come from the third of the Public Education Enrichment Fund focused on general education program funding," Zmuda said.

The committee members moved to continue the hearing to next week. Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said he was interested in seeing how the use of in-kind services as substitutes to cash funding could also affect the funding allocation in the next two years.

The undistributed money from upcoming Public Education Enrichment Fund allocations would go back into the General Fund for re-distribution, Zmuda said.

"If it concerns next year's allocation, you have my commitment," Elsbernd said to Waymack, "but we'd also like to look at how the funds will be allocated for 2007 to 2008."




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