Advocacy

How might state and federal grants help us fill gaps in our budget shortfall and protect vital services to our students?

In September of this year, in light of our current budget crisis, I requested an update on grants that SFUSD has applied for this year. Many of the grants are one-time funds which will not help us immediately address our challenge of demonstrating “fiscal solvency”. The state is looking for us to demonstrate that we can meet our financial commitments year-to-year on an ongoing basis and our current budget forecasts show that spending and revenue are not aligned. Based on the fact that most of our ongoing spending is allocated to staffing costs, the Board discussion has focused on a proposal to significantly cut site staffing.

Commissioner Alexander has shared an alternate proposal at last Tuesday’s December 7, 2021 meeting to focus cuts at the administrative level. (At the time of this post, last week’s video of the meeting was not yet posted, when it is posted, you can find it here.)

Hundreds of Millions of Dollars

Needless to say, there are potentially hundreds of millions of dollars available to our districts and I do not believe SFUSD should be leaving any money on the table. Some of the grant funds are administered on an ongoing basis. Incorporating ongoing revenue from those sources would greatly improve our ability to maintain staffing (and SERVICES) at sites. Additionally, I am interested in exploring the ways that one-time funds might be used to potentially offset current budget shortfalls, and hopefully, fill gaps while we search for longer-term solutions. I have reached out to our state fiscal advisor to get input.

District staff may not be able to include potential grant funding in current budget planning. But, it could greatly improve our budget outlooks going forward as we plan for upcoming years, and mitigate the need for staff reductions throughout the organization as we develop final budgets for the upcoming academic year.

Thus, in September, I shared a list of grants with Meghan Wallace SFUSD’s Chief Budget Officer SFUSDm might gain from applying to each grant, whether we had applied, and the status of that application. I also asked that the SFUSD Budget Office post this information on the District website so folks could track progress.

Either way, in the interest of transparency, I believe the public deserves to know what type of potential funding is available. The public also deserves to know that staff is doing anything and everything to fund important services for our youth.

List of potential grants:

Information I have received thus far shows that SFUSD staff have only applied for roughly FIVE out of TWENTY potential grants available. This is very concerning, as many of these grants could provide additional resources for student support programs our schools so desperately need. Nonetheless, here are the grants I requested information about and screenshots of the status that I have received thus far.

(LEA stands for Local Educational Agency, in this case, it usually means a school district, though it can also refer to a stand-alone charter school that is chartered outside of a district. ADA means Average Daily Attendance.)

  • Expanded Learning Opportunity Program – $1 billion ongoing and $753.1 million one-time in 2021-22. $1,170 per classroom-based K–6 ADA multiplied by LEA’s UP%
  • Universal Transitional Kindergarten – $900 million in 2022-23 (growing to $2.7 billion in 2025-26)
  • California Prekindergarten Planning and Implementation Grant Program – $300 million one- time to expand access to transitional kindergarten and be used for planning and implementation grants for all LEAs.
  • California Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten, and Full-Day Kindergarten Facilities Grant Program – $490 million and adding as a purpose of the grants, providing California state preschool program and transitional kindergarten classrooms
  • Community Schools Partnership Program -$2.8 billion one-time competitive grants available through 2028 to enable LEAs to expand existing networks of community schools and establish new community schools,
  • Dual Language Immersion Grant Program – $10 million one-time (award a minimum of 25 one-time grants) to LEAs or consortia over a period of three years to expand existing and establish new dual language immersion programs.
  • A–G Completion Improvement Grant Program – $547.5 million one-time to all LEAs to enable more students to complete A-G courses with a focus on help for students who fellbehind during the pandemic.
  • Career Technical Education Incentive Grant – $150 million ongoing increase ($300 million total) and makes a variety of changes to the grant program, eligibility, and related reporting requirements.
  • Career Technical Education ROCPs – $86.4 million one-time for career technical education regional occupational centers or programs (ROCPs) operated by a joint powers authority to address costs associated with the pandemic.
  • Antibias Education Grant Program – $10 million one-time for grants to prevent, address, and eliminate racism and bias in all California public schools, and make all public schools inclusive and supportive of all people.
  • Educator Effectiveness Block Grant – $1.5 billion one-time spread over five years to provide LEAs with training resources for teacher, administrator, and classified staff professional development in specified high-need topics including accelerated learning, re-engaging students, student well-being, literacy improvement, and coaching and induction.
  • National Board Certification Incentive Program – $250 million one-time spread over five years to incentivize 2,500 highly qualified NBC teachers to teach in high poverty schools.
  • Teacher Residency Grant Program – $350 million one-time spread over five years, which supports locally sponsored, one-year intensive, mentored, clinical teacher preparation programs dedicated to preparing and retaining teachers in high-need subject areas in high-need communities.
  • 21st Century School Leadership Academy – $25 million one-time spread over five years to provide high-quality professional learning for administrators and other school leaders.
  • Golden State Teacher Grant Program – $500 million one-time spread over five years to provide 25,000 grants to students enrolled in teacher preparation programs who commit to working in high-need fields and at schools with high rates of under-prepared teachers for four years.
  • Multi-tiered Systems of Support Framework Grants – $30 million to LEAs (via the Orange County Dept of Ed) to fund schoolwide and districtwide implementation of services and practices.
  • Computer Science Supplementary Authorization – $15 million one-time spread over five years to support 6,000 teachers in completing the coursework necessary to receive a state certification to teach computer science. Teacher grants up to $2,500
  • California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program – $125 million one-time spread over five years to expand the program
  • Classified School Employee Summer Assistance Program – $60 million one-time to provide matching funds for intersessional pay for classified employees that work less than 12 months per year.
  • Universal School Meals Program – $54 million increase in state meal reimbursements and $650 million ongoing beginning in 2022-23 to cover the costs of offering two meals per school day for all students
  • Kitchen Infrastructure and Food Staff Training – $120 million one-time for kitchen infrastructure upgrades to increase pupil access to, or improve the quality of, school meals and $30 million one-time for food staff training.
  • Ethnic Studies – $50 million one-time for LEAs on a per-pupil basis to be used to support the creation or expansion of ethnic studies course offerings, allocated contingent upon the enactment of AB 101 in the 2021-22 Regular Session. In addition, $5 million one-time to contract out with a COE to provide professional development and resources to support LEAs offering new and expanded ethnic studies courses.

Status thusfar…

I have requested that this information be made available to the public via the district website. For now, I’m sharing what is available.

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