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Community Facility Commission
THURSDAY, September 12, 2002
1800 Oakdale Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94124
I. Call to Order
Commission President Millard Larkin called the Thursday, September 12, 2002 meeting to order at 6:12 p.m. in the Alex L. Pitcher Community Room at 1800 Oakdale Avenue.
Commissioner Larkin read the Sunshine Ordinance aloud and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
III. Roll Call
Present: Commissioner Millard Larkin
Commissioner Bobbrie Brown
Commissioner Heidi Hardin
Commissioner Enola Maxwell
Commissioner Kim Nguyen
Not Present: Commissioner Malik Looper (excused)
Commissioner Tofaeono (excused)
Staff Present: Robert Bryan, Deputy City Attorney; Toye Moses, Executive Director;
Joseph K. Tham, PUC Real Property Officer, Annette Price, SECF Commission Secretary
IV. Approval of Minutes
Commissioner Maxwell moved and Commissioner Brown seconded to accept the minutes of Wednesday, August 28, 2002. Motion passed to accept minutes as presented.
V. Public Comment
Commissioner Larkin opened the floor for public comment and noted that requests may also be heard after Commission discussion of an agenda item by completing an information card and submitting it to the Commission Secretary. Requests will be given on a first-come-first-serve priority and speakers may be limited to three (3) minutes. (Speaker cards were made available).
Cedric Jackson, Director of One Stop Career Center informed the Commission of the loss of Robert Mason, community activist for many years in the Bayview Community who was also very involved in helping the youth of this community. He will be dearly missed and Mr. Jackson hopes the Commission will honor Mr. Mason's work in some way.
There were no communications to the Commission.
Mr. MacDonald is the Director of Real Estate for the City and County of San Francisco. He oversees the management of 25 real estate agents in the management, acquisition and disposition of real estate for the City & County of San Francisco, e.g., leased property, office property, and also the four daycare centers that fall under the Southeast Commission (Caheed, Whitney Young, Sourjourn Truth, MLK). His department serves other city departments in that if a city department needs space, they come to Mr. MacDonald's department and ask for assistance in finding space and/or in negotiating a contract. Mr. MacDonald at this point opened the floor up for questions from the audience.
- Cedric Jackson inquired about programs that may be offered through Mr. MacDonald's department relative to the community's acquisition of real estate. Mr. MacDonald stated that the services he provides to the community would be through a department of the city; that his department is essentially a work order department. Mr. MacDonald noted that his department's website can provide much information about the services they offer.
- Fia Carlos-Valentino inquired whether a fee would be involved in connection with this service and was told the fee is charged to the departments only requesting the service.
- Ms. Linda Brooks inquired whether the City had plans to acquire property that will be used for city departments to better prepare itself for the rise of property costs. Mr. MacDonald responded that was definitely a vision of his department.
- Mr. Cedric Jackson asked what the policy is on acquiring city property and whether there were restrictions. Mr. MacDonald stated he is unaware of the city being prohibited from purchasing property. The question of whether there are programs or assistance available for low income families in the purchase of property was raised by Mr. Jackson and Mr. MacDonald responded by saying his department helps through other city departments. His department is in essence the middleman.
Commissioner Larkin took Item VIII thru XI next in order to accommodate Dr. Ackerman's schedule, who called earlier and said that she would be running a little late.
Dr. Arlene Ackerman, Superintendent of Schools - San Francisco Unified School District thanked the Commission for inviting her. She stated that she is in her third year as superintendent. Dr. Ackerman began by talking about what's happening in the District. She stated that before she became superintendent, the City's facilities and fiscal houses were in a mess. We've completed all of our reconciliation in our facilities and we now know where our money is. Improvements are seen all around the city from schools being painted to roofs being installed on school buildings, boilers being repaired. A lot has been done to take care of the operational side of the house, but what people don't hear about is what's happening on the academic side.
Dr. Ackerman stated the following goals for the district: 1) Raising achievements for all students and closing the gap for the children who are under-performing. 2) Biggest goal -- looking at the allocation of our resources and making sure every school has what it needs to be successful, e.g. financial, experienced staffed, other resources. 3) Putting in place accountability systems.
A lot of the last year was spent focusing on the schools that were in need, making sure the schools got the resources that they needed. Addressing the issue of schools not having enough books, we spent millions of dollars getting new books, old books into the schools. Last year there were 39 under-performing STAR schools and two-thirds of those schools have now shown improvement. Their staff had a high turnover rate. We helped them to improve by placing permanent substitutes in the schools who reported every day. We provided coaches for the teachers, put experienced teachers and principals in the schools, and we also gave them a lot of support curriculum-wise.
This year social workers, nurses, art and music teachers are being placed in those schools 3 days' a week because in order to have a quality education, all of those things must be met in the school programs. Nationwide statistics indicate our elementary level scored at or above the national level in every grade level and in every content area in terms of urban school districts. In math, we're above the 60th percentile. Improvement was also shown in our attendance rate and a lower dropout rate.
We are also about to embark upon looking at secondary schools. Some of our high schools are really large, which makes it easy for children not to get the personalization they need. When I talk with students that's what they say. Our goal is to make the high schools more personalized; to look at the curriculum and make sure all the children get access to top-notched instructional programs; access to higher level honors classes. The focus will also be on the new smaller schools, a smaller learning community for students so the parents and students have more choices. We spent a year getting ready for this new initiative. Looking at the research, sending teams to different cities to look at high schools at work and now we're ready to design those schools that we think will work for the students in San Francisco.
We currently have an initiative to restructure high schools that will work for all high school students. We had 28 letters of interest and intent to apply which will turn into full-blown proposals. We our currently working with the Gates Foundation to help us with this initiative. We are looking for a multi-million dollar grant from the foundation. This will be a 5-year process for us and if we can get those kinds of resources, that will be great. Dr. Ackerman stated: "Our goal is to make this an exemplary school district second to no other school district not only in the state but in the country." Dr. Ackerman then opened the floor up to questions.
Commissioner Larkin had concerns regarding classroom size and truancy issues and wanted to know what is being done aside from creating these smaller high schools. Dr. Ackerman stated they will be focusing on resources, such as outreach to students. We are looking at system-wide things, auto dialing in middle schools and high schools. We've had meetings with the community and ministers to talk about how they can help us with the issue of truancy.
Dr. Ackerman remarked that Californians are lucky in that grades K thru 3 are 20 to 1. It then increases at 4th thru 5th and then decreases in 6th in core subjects because the state gives the city money. Then it goes down again at 7th and 8th and up again at 9th. So it is an issue of resources. We are reimbursed for the smaller class sizes at the grades that were mentioned and where we're not reimbursed it's harder to make that happen because of financial inability. If we had all of our classroom in the district at 20 to 1, it would cost approximately $10 million. And we'd then have to decide where we're going to take the money away. What also has to be looked at is the large disparity from state to state as far as amount of money being spent per student in terms of base funding. California spends only $5,700.00 per student per year on our children.
Commissioner Maxwell was curious as to whether a law existed requiring students under 16 to attend school. And if so, what the punishment is for not being in compliance. Dr. Ackerman stated that there is on the books a compulsory law, but it lacks the backbone that is needed to be taken seriously by students. Dr. Ackerman feels that a community approach has to be looked at in order to lessen truancy issues. Commissioner Maxwell suggested that maybe the school district could have a liaison with the youth guidance center to help with the issue of truancy, taking some of the resources already in the community and working with schools on truancy. Dr. Ackerman felt that was an excellent idea and remarked that she is going to try and make that happen.
Commissioner Brown thanked Dr. Ackerman for meeting with the Commission and thanked her for the difference she has made to the children. Commissioner Brown wanted to know the status of the SOTA school. Dr. Ackerman stated they are still committed to doing SOTA but they are going to have to go back to the voters to get the money to build the new school, which is expected to be at 135 Van Ness. The SOTA school at the present time is housed at McAteer to enable the student population to grow in size without difficulty.
Commissioner Brown stated she had heard rumors that the McAteer students', who were disseminated or scattered among the other schools, academic achievements were so low that the district had a hard time placing them in any school. Dr. Ackerman responded the students had a choice as to which school they wanted to attend. There were no placement tests for these students in entering the school. They had 3 choices and most students got one of their first two choices. Now the job of the educators is to work with these students. She also noted there are three counselors in place to follow these students until they all graduate and make sure they get the resources that they need.
Commissioner Hardin thanked Dr. Ackerman for being here and asked whether the art programs include all grade levels or just elementary school. Dr. Ackerman responded that the program is in the 43 STAR schools that have had difficulty in performance. The focus will be on the 4th and 5th grade level first, due to their larger class sizes, and then some whole school kinds of activities that will go with all grades levels. Dr. Ackerman stated that many of these students had lots of challenges that the district needed to address, which is why the need for social workers and nurses. Many of the children have childhood diseases such as diabetes, asthma. And because we now have social workers, that aids us in doing outreach with their families because the social workers can go to their homes.
Commissioner Hardin inquired about what is happening at Brett Hart Elementary School. Dr. Ackerman stated that both Brett Heart and Enola Maxwell Middle School are both magnet art schools. The goal is to feed students into the schools of the art. There was a $3 million grant from the federal government and those were the two schools that received resources. The question was asked how do kids get in these schools. Dr. Ackerman stated the schools get magnet school funds but the schools are not magnet schools in the true sense of the word in terms of selecting students out. These are schools with regular student populations.
Dr. Moses was curious as to what kind of outreach the school district can do to win back the parents who insist on sending their children to private schools because of the quality of education they're being provided and the security that is felt from attending these schools. Dr. Ackerman responded parents are won back by having quality school programs in every neighborhood. She also stated that in the last 20 years, the percentage of children going to private schools has not changed much - 30% for past 20 years.
Commissioner Nguyen stated that she used to work in the Tenderloin area at a community
school center that had innovative type educational programs - unusual. She was curious about the status of the school and wondered if the Tenderloin School will be a model for future elementary schools. Dr. Ackerman stated the school is still very much active and it is the kind of model that you'd like to see happen in every school. The school has innovative community-based programs and some community-based organizations are in the school also to interact with parents and students. There is a childcare center there and the school addresses the needs of a lot of newly immigrant families and a lot of our English language learners.
Commissioner Larkin opened the floor up to public comment.
- Ms. Minor had concerns regarding children being taught life skills and wondered whether that was somehow being addressed in the school system. We find a lot of our children are academically fit but yet they fail on social skills. Is there any special program that is going on to assist those children as far as life skills? And the other question: Those students who are not college bound, are they being prepared for any kind of trade? Dr. Ackerman answered there is no program being offered in terms of teaching children life skills and social skills. She agreed there certainly is a lot more that we can do and that probably needs to take place and embedded in the classroom. We have to help our children understand what is appropriate and what is inappropriate. The other area you need to do more around and in the schools is preparing our people for the world of work. Whether they're going onto college right after high school or whether they're going to go to work right after high school, it's important that we prepare them in terms of social readiness. We moved away from that somewhere.
- Ms. Minor also asked, looking at the generations of parents who may have dropped out of school, how do you make the parents understand the need for those children to extend their education? Are you working through parent liaisons? Are they really in touch with the parents and have some type of program going to explain the life skills to the parents so that in turn they will enforce that in their children without the parents being offended. Dr. Ackerman responded that parent involvement is important. It is all about outreach, reaching out to parents and making someone comfortable. Going that extra mile, going to the children's homes and letting the parents know their child was not in school today. It's going to take that kind of outreach. 90% of our parents work during the day. Why do we have parent/teacher conferences scheduled during the day?
- Salece, member of the audience, voiced her concerns regarding the school district having
too much involvement in raising the children instead of the parents raising the children
and the teachers educating the children. She noted that in the past when the school
district became too involved, they had a tendency to interfere with the standards set by
the parents. Dr. Ackerman remarked that it's about supporting parents. We're not there
to tell them how to raise their children, we are there to say this is how we think you can
help or how do you think you can help and let's work together because the vested interest
we have is the child doing work.
- Mr. Keith Jackson asked Dr. Ackerman as she shapes her master plan for the facilities issue, what is the time frame that the district will go after a bond and what kind of community support do you need to go after that bond. Dr. Ackerman stated we're going to need a lot of support. We cannot go out to the community for another bond until at least a year from November, although the board can make the decision to go out earlier. We really do need to prove to the public that whatever money we have left we're gong to use it wisely and let the public know we're not squandering the money. Ms. Ackerman's hope is that the board will wait another year and a half so that they can get a chance to do all of the things they have planned.
- Linda Brooks stated she had read a number of articles saying that when elementary school children begin their school day earlier in the morning and high school children began their school day later in the morning they do better. She asked whether there is a possibility of doing that in the public school system. Dr. Ackerman stated that is something that she will be looking into but that it would need a lot of community discussion and parent discussion, because that would be a major change. You'd have to take into consideration bus schedules and many other things.
- Fia Carlos-Valentino stated that the highest dropout rates exist in the Bayview not only with young African-Americans but also Pacific Islanders. They are very much underserved and the county community school has been treated like it is second-class. Her concern is what the master plan is and what will move her students forward to be in the same line with the mainstream. Dr. Ackerman commended Ms. Carlos-Valentino in reaching some of the children the school district couldn't reach in the traditional schools. She stated Ms. Carlos-Valentino was very much involved in the secondary school initiative redesign and that she will bring her recommendations that she developed with Ms. Brooks to the board. Dr. Ackerman said she will be providing more support to Ms. Carlos-Valentino and her students not less support.
- Mr. Cedric Jackson was concerned with tutorial resources and access. He asked if Dr. Ackerman has contemplated the idea of some type of on-line tutorial resource or call-in tutorial resource for parents that can help their children when they get stuck on some educational matter or when they're looking to help their child augment their education. Dr. Ackerman responded that she is aware that some parents worry about sending their children out of their neighborhoods and said they are working closely with churches and giving them homework packets so that the churches will be able to work with the children in a safe environment, which will lessens the worry of the parents. She also stated the school is willing to train whoever is willing to work with the community. She thought the idea of an on-line tutorial service was excellent and something the school district can look into.
Commissioner Larkin thanked Dr. Ackerman and assured her that the Commission certainly will
be calling her back in the very near future.
VIII. Directors Report (Discussion) Dr. Moses reported that:
a) All staff have been fully trained in posting both agendas/minutes to the Southeast website. This posting will eventually alleviate the need to have the mass mailings twice a month.
b) The Budget Request for FY '02-03 has been approved and is ready for implementation.
Commission Brown moved and Commissioner Hardin seconded to accept the Executive Director's report. Motion passed unanimously to accept report as presented.
IX. Facility Committee Mtg 9/10/02: Report/Recommendation (Discussion & Action)
a) Request from City College (Southeast Campus) to sublease classrooms 506, 507, 509 to SFUSD: Commissioner Brown moved and Commissioner Maxwell seconded to recommend to the full Commission to approve the request from CCSF to sublease classrooms to SFUSD with the following stipulations 1) CCSF agrees to get own estimates and be responsible for repair of property damaged by SFUSD students. 2) Dean Hunnicutt agrees to expedite the process (paperwork) by getting repairs completed in a timely manner. 3) CCSF agrees to add additional security to City College (Southeast Campus).
The Commission unanimously voted to approve the request from City College to sublease
space to SFUSD.
b) Request from City College (Southeast Campus) to alter/install door between room 201 and 202 in the Southeast Community Facility (Discussion & Recommendation): Commissioner Hardin asked that CCSF 1) Move ahead with plans to work with DPW architects in determining the composition of the wall before any kind of "structural change" is done to the room (because of asbestos concern, etc. 2) Also, have plans drawn and building inspection performed, permits obtained before recommendation is made to the full Commission to approve request for CCSF to install door at CCSF's expense.
The Commission unanimously voted for City College to move ahead with plans to work with DPW in determining the composition of the wall before any kind of "structural change" is done to the room.
c) Decorative Plants Service Lease (Discussion & Recommendation): Since Decorative Plants is still in negotiation with PUC/BCLM regarding maintenance of building/repairs, Commissioner Maxwell moved and Commissioner Hardin seconded to recommend to the full Commission that Decorative Plants continue negotiation with PUC/BCLM until a final lease is agreed on.
Commission Larkin stated the Commission will not take a vote on Decorative Plants' draft lease right now since they are still in negotiation with PUC/BCLM and calendared this item for the next agenda.
IX. PUC Bureau of Land Management Report (Discussion & Action)
a) Mr. Joseph Tham informed the Commission that the draft lease was available for their review and that he would take any comments or suggested changes the Commission had back to PUC/BCLM, who ultimately has the final authority for lease approval.
b) With respect to Item b, Mr. Tham informed the Commission that PUC/BCLM will work with administrative services to assist CCSF in the sublease of space to SFUSD.
X. Introduction of New Business
Commissioner Hardin informed the Commission that there were several speakers at the Facility Committee meeting, in particular Ms. Espanola Jackson who informed the Facility Committee that she, along with others, helped to negotiate the original contract/agreement with the City regarding the building of this facility. Ms. Jackson's concern was that certain obligations that were promised with regard to monies coming back to the Commission that could be redistributed to the community are not being met. Commission Hardin suggested that both Ms. Jackson and a Mr. Bill Keaney, city employee who was also in on the negotiation, be invited to the Commission to give some background on the history of the building, why it was built, etc.
Commissioner Larkin asked City Attorney Robert Bryan to please assist the Commission by providing whatever documentation the City has regarding the agreement/contract the City had with the Community about the history of the building and monies promised to the community, etc. Commission Larkin stated that the Commission would first like to review any documentation the legal department had prior to inviting Ms. Jackson and Mr. Keaney to the Commission.
Commissioner Maxwell informed the Commission of the death of Mr. Hardin Mathews, a long-time community activist. He was a member of the Democratic Club and also very involved in organizing annual youth scholarships for the youth in this community. His funeral will be held on September 13, 2002 - 1:00 o'clock @ Providence Baptist Church.
Commissioner Larkin asked that we have a moment of silence in honor of the following
fallen heroes and adjourn the commission meeting in honor of them: Mr. Robert Mason,
Mr. Nathaniel Lewis, Mr. Harvey Matthews.
Commissioner Larkin moved and Commissioner Brown seconded to adjourn the SECF Commission Meeting. Meeting adjourned at 8:03 p.m.