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San Francisco Unified is pushing for nearly $800 million in bonds to improve schools

San Francisco Unified school officials are urging voters to approve a nearly $800 million bond for major improvements. Some parents fully support it, but there is skepticism about whether the money will be used wisely.

Supriyia Ray has been an SFUSD parent for ten years, with one of her children in middle school and the other entering high school next year.

The district’s push for a nearly $800 million bond for improvements, including renovating aging facilities, is high on the agenda.

‘The question is not whether we need the money. We clearly need the money,” Ray said.

Under the district’s plan, $410 million would be spent on a major construction project to modernize school grounds and classrooms.

Ray supports SFUSD’s push to put the bond measure on the ballot in November, when voters will decide.

“I really hope the district will come out and show that it can manage money responsibly,” Ray said.

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Another $225 million is earmarked to build a new central food hub that the district says would ensure healthy meals for all students.

About $150 million will be allocated to repair facilities such as restrooms, technology upgrades, outdoor school playground learning and security.

“There are more families and children who could come to SFUSD and choose SFUSD if they had more confidence in our school system,” Ray said.

Enrollment declines, which have contributed to large budget deficits and less state funding, have been problematic.

The SFUSD board is also working to rebuild trust, with parents wary of how the district has spent approved bond funds in the past.

“We absolutely continue to build trust with the public and understand our current financial position,” said SFUSD Board Commissioner Jenny Lam.

“I think there is a lot that needs to be done during this process to correct the historical mistakes that have happened through community bond projects, the sense of being neglected and forgotten sites not being fully upgraded,” said SFUSD Board Commissioner Kevine Boggess.

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To highlight the budget crisis, state officials this month downgraded SFUSD’s latest budget report to “negative,” meaning they are concerned the district won’t be able to pay its bills for at least the next few years.

“If we can show that we can spend money well, and we can do it in a way that actually improves the school environment and improves student outcomes, it will go a long way toward regaining the trust of parents and families.” , the spokesperson said. Ray.

That includes the teachers union, which said the state’s intervention will pressure the district to close low-performing schools and lead to staff layoffs.

Regardless, Supryia Ray believes passing a landmark bond measure could ensure quality education for San Francisco public school students for years to come.

The bond measure would require 55% of voter support in November to pass and is not expected to increase current tax rates given the expiration of previous school bonds.

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