Loss of About 10,000 Students Since 2015 Leads to Potential San Francisco Public Schools Closures in 2025

By Praniti Gulyani

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Matt Wayne recently addressed the loss of 10,000 students since 2015, suggesting the district could close an undisclosed number of public schools by Fall 2025.

This proposal comes after facing a larger budget deficit and dwindling enrollment, according to a report by CBS News that said the district is avoiding the word “closure,” and working with the theory that “fewer schools will benefit the students,” redefined as “resource alignment.”

As per a four-minute video statement made available to the public, Supt. Wayne said, “We must have fewer schools than we do now. We realize this is difficult to hear. No one wants to think about their school or any school closing its doors, us included. But by having fewer schools, we can concentrate our resources and enhance programs, teacher support and student services.”

This decision has been met with questions by the parent committee, according to CBS News, quoting San Francisco parent Meredith Dodson, who has two children in a San Francisco Public Elementary School, and said, “It’s concerning; it’s emotional. Of course, you don’t want your own school to close. You don’t want it to impact kids who are already being underserved by the district.”

And Louisa Rodriguez, a local nonprofit organization worker and mother of three children who attend Buena Vista Horace Mann, adds, said CBS, “It’s a struggle. Our schools are not receiving the resources they need. Our students don’t feel safe. Sometimes the roofs are collapsing because the district doesn’t prioritize it as much.”

According to a statement given by Wayne to the Chronicle, “We feel like in order to create the schools our students deserve and our families expect, we need to have fewer schools.” He also added that “resources are stretched too thin.”

And, other officials have substantiated the statement, noting, “It’s about making sure all students have access to the best education and services and that can’t happen if they’re spread thin over 121 schools,” according to a report by San Francisco Chronicle. 

The reasons for dwindling enrollment and the loss of students can be traced back to the pandemic, said the Chronicle, quoting Stanford education professor Thomas Dee, who said, “Public school enrollment fell dramatically during the first two school years of the COVID-19 pandemic, with losses concentrated among the youngest students.” Additionally, due to spiking inflation and the housing crisis, many families moved out of San Francisco, leading to a decline in public school enrollment, he said.

According to statistics by SFist, at present, San Francisco Public Schools have 49,500 students enrolled. This is a major drop from 53,000 enrolled students in 2015, and by 2032, another 5,000 students could be lost. 

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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