Board of Education

SFUSD backs supervisors’ sugary beverage tax, with concerns

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A San Francisco ballot initiative to levy a tax on sugary beverages got a boost last night as the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education voted 5-2 to endorse it.

“The school district has done amazing work around nutrition for kids,” said Supervisor Scott Wiener, one of the initiative’s authors, shortly after the meeting. “This is a big win.” Read more »

SFUSD gifts city 115 affordable housing units for the holidays

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The San Francisco Board of Education last night (Tue/10) approved a land swap with city government, gifting San Francisco an empty lot that it will use to build new affordable housing. That’s 115 units of living space for low income San Francisco renters, wrapped in a bow for the holidays. 

The proposal was the brainchild of board members Hydra Mendoza-McDonnell and Sandra Lee Fewer, who worked on the measure with the Mayor’s Office of Housing for over two years. The district will trade a lot on 1950 Mission street and another on Connecticut in exchange for a property it currently rents from the city of San Francisco. The city will also pay SFUSD $4.5 million, according to district data.

Last night was the culmination of that work, which Fewer said was the right thing to do.

“Could we get more money from [selling] this property with a private developer? I’m sure. But would we get the value? No,” Fewer said at the meeting. Read more »

Students fight suspensions targeting young people of color

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Sagging pants, hats worn indoors, or having a really bad day -- the list of infractions that can get a student suspended from a San Francisco Unified School District school sounds like the daily life of a teenager. The technical term for it is “willful defiance,” and there are so many suspensions made in its name that a student movement has risen up against it. 

The punishment is the first step to derailing a child’s education, opponents said. 

Student activists recognize the familiar path from suspensions to the streets to prisons, and they took to the streets yesterday to push the SFUSD to change its ways. Around 20 or so students and their mentors marched up to City Hall and into the Board of Education to demand a stop of suspensions over willful defiance.

A quarter of all suspensions in SFUSD for the 2011-12 school year were made for “disruption or defiance,” according to the California Department of Education. Half of all suspensions in the state were for defiance. 

When a student is willfully defiant and suspended, it’s seen as a downward spiral as students are pushed out of school and onto the streets, edging that much closer to a life of crime.

“What do we want? COLLEGE! What are we gonna do? WORK HARD!” the students shouted as they marched to the Board of Education’s meeting room, on Franklin Street. 

They were dressed in graduation gowns of many colors, signs raised high. They smiled and danced and the mood was infectious. One driver drove by, honked and said “Yes, alright!” Assorted passersby of all ethnicities cheered on the group. Read more »