Proposition G — Student Success Fund – Grants to the San Francisco Unified School District

See our November 2022 SF Election Guide for a nonpartisan analysis of measures and contests on the ballot in San Francisco for the election occurring Nov. 8, 2022. Voters will consider the following proposition in that election.

Proposition G is a charter amendment to establish a Student Success Fund that would be operated by the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families for 15 years. The purpose is to provide grants of up to $1 million annually to San Francisco Unified School District schools, Pre-K through 12th grade, to improve academic achievement and social/emotional wellness of students. This would be paid for using a designated amount from the city’s excess property tax revenue and is separate from existing funding. It requires more than 50% affirmative votes to pass.

The measure outlines a community school framework as a model for students, families, educators and community partners to work with school administrators to design programs to help students who are struggling. Programs could include academic support, social/emotional interventions, strategies to address persistent poverty and trauma, or support for families to secure stability.

Grants up to $1 million would be awarded from the Student Success Fund to individual schools for hiring more educators, nurses, tutors, literacy and math specialists, academic coaches, social workers, specialized curriculum, school psychologists and other support staff. The fund could also be used for community-based organizations or city departments to provide after school programs, therapeutic arts and culture programs or summer school. The grants are not to be used for funding core staffing.

To receive grants from this fund, a school would need to:

  • have a school site council that endorses the school’s grant proposal and commits to supporting the implementation of the program and staffing.
  • have a full-time community school coordinator who will work with the principal to implement the new programs. The fund can be used to pay for this position.
  • agree to coordinate with city departments and district administration to ensure the new programs best serve the students and their families, and will relay to the Department of Children Youth and Their Families how the new programs integrate with other community programs within the school.

“Technical Assistance” grants are available to schools that need additional support in applying for the “Student Success” grants and implementing programs. “District Innovation” grants are also available to the school district to help launch these programs at one or more schools. The district must also hire a full-time coordinator to facilitate the program-design process and support various school coordinators.

The funding will come from excess property taxes. A portion of property tax revenue in San Francisco goes to California’s Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund to support schools statewide. When the amount contributed to the fund is more than the minimum cost of funding local schools, excess revenue is returned to the contributing city or county. San Francisco usually receives money through this process. The Student Success Fund would draw from the excess funds with calculations made by the city controller based on estimated source availability.

The Student Success Fund would receive $11 million in the first year, $35 million in the second year, $45 million in the third year and $60 million in the fourth year. Funding allocated in subsequent years would be based on preceding years adjusted for changes in the city’s discretionary revenues, and funding growth would not exceed 3% annually.

If the Student Success Fund were to have money left over at the end of the fiscal year, up to $40 million would be put in a reserve account for use in future years, and the rest would go to the general fund. The Board of Supervisors would also need to establish a task force to provide advice to the mayor and board regarding future sources of funding.

The Department of Children Youth and Their Families will create criteria for prioritizing grants to schools that have a low academic achievement, and/or have a high number of vulnerable students (e.g. English language learners, foster youth, students eligible for free or reduced-price meals, homeless students and students who are otherwise vulnerable or underserved). They will also, in conjunction with the school district, define ways to measure outcomes showing the effectiveness of these grants. The schools and district will need to provide the data showing these outcomes.

The city can use up to 3.5% of the Student Success Fund for administrative purposes. The school district can also use up to 3.5% from each grant for administrative purposes.

Supporters say the fund will not raise taxes and will increase student well-being using research-based reforms. Opponents say that funds will be reallocated from priorities like police and public transit.

The measure requires a simple majority to pass. If the measure doesn’t pass, excess money from the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund will continue to return to the general fund.

The city controller’s analysis says that there would be significant impact on the cost of government as Proposition G would be reallocating funds that would otherwise be available in the general fund.

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