San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom this week said he would give the San Francisco Unified School District $11.5 million from the city’s rainy-day fund to help prevent teacher layoffs.

The move, which requires approval by the Board of Supervisors, follows the school district’s decision to send out layoff notices to 500 teachers, principals, and paraprofessionals to cut $51 million from its budget this year and next.

“We are lucky in San Francisco to have saved our extra revenue for when times get tough,” Newsom said. “Tough times are here, and we are committed to reducing as many layoffs as possible.”

San Francisco voters created the rainy-day fund in 2003 and gave the mayor and supervisors the power to share up to 25% of the fund with the school district in years when real state funding declines and significant layoffs are proposed.

California cut about $2.4 billion in school spending this year as it closed a two-year, $41.6 billion budget gap last week. The result is that school districts across the state are sending out layoff notices to staff they can no longer afford to pay.

Newsom wants to give the schools money to offset the cuts in San Francisco, though some supervisors say he’s not doing enough. The city gave the schools $19 million from the rainy-day fund last year and supervisors say the law governing the fund allows the city to give the schools up to $23 million this year.

San Francisco, California’s fourth-largest city, also plans to tap the fund for $46 million to help close a $500 million gap in its own budget in the upcoming year. Newsom contends that the city is only allowed to give the schools a quarter of the balance that’s left after the city takes its share.

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