Establishes a fund for 15 years to provide grants to San Francisco Unified School District schools to improve academic achievement and support social and emotional wellness for students.
What the Measure Would Do
Proposition G would establish the Student Success Fund as a set-aside in the City of San Francisco budget. This fund would provide grants of up to $1 million to San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) schools for enrichment and services for students. The fund would also provide for technical assistance and District Innovation grants.
The purpose of the Student Success Fund is to support a “community school” model at San Francisco public schools. Under this model, schools — in close collaboration with their communities — offer students the enrichment and support they need to succeed. SFUSD schools that adopt the community school model would be able to apply for grant funding provided by the Student Success Fund to offer additional services such as academic support, enrichment classes, mental health counseling and programs to bolster family stability.
In California, counties collect property taxes and send them to the state, which redistributes funds to school districts. Some counties collect more in property taxes than is required to meet the state funding requirement for schools, and the counties are allowed to use that funding for any purpose. These funds are referred to as excess Educational Revenue Augmentation Funds (ERAF). Prop. G would direct a share of excess ERAF to the Student Success Fund. The fund would ramp up to reach $60 million by year four. From then until the funding expires in 2038, the amount would be targeted to $60 million per year, adjusted for inflation and with adjustments made to reflect the city’s annual discretionary revenue. The fund’s budget would be at least $35 million, even in deficit years. For context, the San Francisco General Fund for 2021–2022 exceeded $6 billion.
Under Prop. G, a school would have to meet three minimum criteria to be eligible for a grant, and the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families (DCYF) would develop additional requirements. The three minimum criteria are: that the school has a school council composed of administration, students, parents and other key stakeholders to support grant implementation, that the school has or hires a full-time community school coordinator and that the school agrees to coordinate its services with the city and school district.
Education is an engine for equity and opportunity, but California schools have been plagued by a vast achievement gap between students from different backgrounds. Only about a third of Black, Latinx and low-income students meet or exceed academic standards, and only 6% of English learners do. Meanwhile, most of their white, Asian, middle-/upper-income and English-speaking counterparts are succeeding academically.
Additional school funding improves student outcomes and provides the greatest benefit for underachieving students, according to research from the Public Policy Institute of California. The state has reformed its education spending to provide additional resources to underperforming schools, but it will take 70 years of the current progressive spending approach to close achievement gaps.
California schools have been underfunded for decades, and as a result support professionals such as librarians and guidance counselors have in many cases been eliminated from core budgets. Schools in wealthier communities are better able to raise charitable donations from parents to provide additional support and enrichment, while schools with the most vulnerable students do without.
Proponents of Prop. G argue that the Student Success Fund would address this imbalance by providing grants to schools for enrichment and support.
The measure is a set-aside, which reduces General Fund dollars that could otherwise be allocated for other purposes in the annual city budgeting process. However, Prop. G has incorporated certain provisions to minimize the unintended consequences of set-asides, including a sunset date and the flexibility to adjust the amount of the set-aside in accordance with the fiscal health of the city.
Prop. G was placed on the ballot through a unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors. It requires a simple majority (50% plus one vote) to pass.
The goal of the measure is to address the systemic inequities among public schools, but successful implementation could be tricky. The measure would have DCYF establish criteria to prioritize funds for schools that have low academic achievement and/or many vulnerable students. But it remains to be seen whether severely struggling schools would be able to fulfill the criteria to receive a grant and whether grants capped at $1 million would be large enough to achieve the sort of transformative change the measure envisions.
- The measure would direct funding to provide much-needed services for public school students and their families.
- If implemented successfully, Prop. G would help address systemic inequities in how public schools are funded.
- Prop. G includes elements of a well-constructed set-aside, including a sunset date.
- Set-asides tie the hands of future elected officials to determine the budget priorities for the city.
- Under Prop. G, the city would have some capacity to alter the amount of the set-aside, but there would be no way to fully suspend the set-aside without another ballot measure.
- The cap of $1 million per school might not cover the new administrative overhead required for a school to adopt a community school framework and provide meaningful additional services to students.
Prop. G is a carefully constructed effort to reduce the vast disparities in resources among public schools while also minimizing the unintended consequences of set-asides. Funding public schools, especially those serving the most vulnerable communities, is a great driver of equity, integration and opportunity for all.
 Julien LaFortune, Understanding the Effects of School Funding, Public Policy Institute of California, May 2022, https://www.ppic.org/publication/understanding-the-effects-of-school-funding/
 Carrie Hahnel, California’s Education Funding Crisis Explained in 12 Charts, PACE, 2020, https://edpolicyinca.org/publications/californias-education-funding-crisis-explained-12-charts
 Margaret Weston, Voluntary Contributions to California’s Public Schools, PPIC, October 2015, https://www.ppic.org/wp-content/uploads/content/pubs/report/R_1015MWR.pdf