March 7, 2021

San Francisco Lawmaker Assemblyman Phil Ting wants to “beg” schools to reopen.

San Francisco Lawmaker Assemblyman Phil Ting wants  to “beg” schools to reopen.

California Governor Newsom signed AB 86 into law on Friday, ear marking $2 billion to re-open public schools. But the twist is that the Governor nor the Legislature has the power to re-open. Instead that power is vested in the more than 1000 school districts around the state. 

Some have partially opened but most are still closed. The $2 billion is an inducement to open the schools. And if the San Francisco schools are anything to go by, schools won't open any time soon. The teachers' unions are not in a bargaining mood. 

To access the money, schools in counties with less than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents will transition to bring back students. But if they do not re-open by April 1st they will lose a portion of their funds or all of it if they have not reopened by May 15. 

And LAUSD is worse. The Los Angeles Teachers'  Union - UTLA - voted 91% to not return to the classroom. Meanwhile private, parochial and some public schools around the state have found safe practices to open schools keeping both kids and teachers safe. The continued closure of schools in some of California's largest school district could become a potent issue against Governor Newsom in the likely recall election.

Prospective Republican candidate Ric Grenell from the Palm Springs region has suggested invoking crisis management and suspending all collective bargaining agreements with teachers unions throughout the state to compel them back to the classroom. A radical idea no doubt but one which would resonate with frazzled parents whose kids have lost one year of in person instruction.

The featured blog art is a photo of George Washington High School in the Richmond Distrct which first opened in 1936. Washington was one of the 44 schools targeted for a politically correct name change by the SFUSD. That project that made San Francisco a laughing stock nationally and overseas, has been quietly shelved by the school board. It's amazing how a looming recall election of school board's leadership has refocused their attention to more serious matters like getting the 59,000 public school students back in the classroom. But that said, the board continues to be ineffective persuading SF Teacher's Union to resume classes.