© 2024 KALW 91.7 FM Bay Area
KALW Public Media / 91.7 FM Bay Area
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

SFUSD Superintendent announces school closure plan

Organizers rallied against Oakland school closures, outside of Lakeview Elementary, in 2012
Flickr / Creative Commons
Organizers rallied against Oakland school closures, outside of Lakeview Elementary, in 2012

Matt Wayne has been Superintendent of SFUSD for less than two years. On Saturday, he confirmed fears that have been plaguing parents and teachers in San Francisco since before his appointment.

According to Wayne, in recent years the district has lost close to 10,000 students. That means they’re getting less money from the state, while still being expected to maintain the same number of facilities.

The superintendent says the district’s finances are being stretched too thin, and wants to close down some schools in order to consolidate resources.

But it’s still up to the school board to decide whether or not to approve Wayne’s recommendations.

His recommendations are indicative of a larger, troubling trend in California. According to some research, attendance in California public schools has dropped by six percent since 2007. That decline is expected to increase over the coming years. This has been attributed to declining birth rates, people leaving California, and changing immigration policies.

But there’s expected pushback. When Oakland announced school closures, there were protests, walkouts, and even hunger strikes. Educators and parents in SF want the district to come up with another, less disruptive, solution.

Over the next coming months, Wayne said he will work to establish the criteria for closing schools. He says this includes an “equity audit” to ensure that low-income and BIPOC students are not disproportionately affected. If his plans are approved, the district will announce which schools to close in August, with a final vote happening in December.

Wren Farrell (he/him) is a writer, producer and journalist living in San Francisco.