San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera filed a lawsuit against the city’s school district on Wednesday.
Herrera has blessed Mayor London Breed to force the hand of the SF Unified School District (SFUSD), and it does so after months of back and forth as Breed turned down the district’s project to rename 44 schools without prioritizing has brought students back to personal learning. Just last week the school board voted to accept all of the recommendations of a renaming committee formed last year with a goal of voting by April on new names for schools named after Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Dianne Feinstein.
As the Chronicle reports, Herrera is now calling on SFUSD for its “ambiguous, empty rhetoric,” saying it is violating a California law that went into effect last September and requires a clear plan for resuming in-person tuition. The law specifically states that a plan must be in place for students who have “suffered significant learning losses due to school closings”.
The lawsuit precedes an injunction Herrera intends to file to enforce immediate action by the district. He says he will file February 11th.
“It’s a shame it came to this,” Herrera said in a statement to the Chronicle. “The Board of Education and the school district had more than 10 months to work out a specific plan to get these children back to school.” So far they have earned an F. Having a plan to make a plan doesn’t cut it. “
Mayor Breed, who spent $ 15 million in city grants to reopen the school, says distance learning has had an overwhelming impact on black, Latin American, Asian, and low-income students. Meanwhile, the state gave four counties in the Bay Area, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Marin, the green light to reopen K-6 schools as COVID cases declined.
“This is not the path we would have chosen, but nothing is more important right now than getting our children back to school,” Breed said in a statement. Our teachers have done an incredible job of providing distance learning support to our children, but that doesn’t work for anyone. “
In mid-December, the local teachers union and the district announced that they had not reached an agreement to reopen schools for a small portion of the students by January 25, according to a plan announced ahead of the rise in COVID cases during the holiday season had been . Under this plan, six elementary schools, eleven preschools, and classes for the learning disabled were to be restarted between January 25 and February 8, with other students returning by March. However, the teachers’ union rejected safety requirements that the district said were “outside of the guidelines of the Department of Health.” Mayor Breed called the impasse “annoying” at the time, as the chronicle reported.
No later plan has emerged that led to the city’s lawsuit.
School Board President Gabriela López told Chronicle: “I think filing a lawsuit will most likely slow us down. I don’t see how helpful this is right now when we’re making progress and the county hasn’t provided the support we need. ” Tests and vaccines that we need. “
Headmaster Vince Matthews tells Chronicle that he doesn’t expect middle or high school students to be back in public classrooms in San Francisco this school year.
Now a strike could take shape with six unions representing SFUSD workers talking about a possible strike if the reopening proceeds without certain requirements being met. Demands reportedly made by teachers include that all school staff have access to COVID-19 vaccines and that teachers be provided with personal protective equipment, air purifiers, COVID safety training and adequate ventilation for all classrooms.
The city is likely to cite the fact that none of the city’s 113 private and parish schools have been known to have outbreaks since they learned in person back in the fall. A total of 15,000 school children at these private schools have been back in the classroom for months, with precautionary measures against masking and distancing.
Connected: Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, and dozens of other names to be removed from San Francisco public schools