SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Teachers are concerned about the future of San Francisco’s highest-ranked public high school as the city’s school district votes on more budget cuts.
Lowell High School’s history of academic excellence is rooted in thousands of students who sign up each year for Advanced Placement courses.
The school’s 2,871 students complete an average of 3,000 AP courses every school year.
“Lowell gives 3,000 AP tests a year, which is literally a world record,” LHS math teacher Jeremy Gribler said.
Lowell high is part of an embattled public school district, SFUSD, which recently sent out 400 preliminary layoff notices to teachers and staff across the district.
Three members of the school board were recently recalled by San Francisco voters in a special election.
One of those recalled members, Faauuga Moliga, resigned from the board immediately, leaving the board currently with six members.
The six school board members were slated to vote Tuesday evening on whether to layoff hundreds of teachers in response to a $125 million budget shortfall projected for the next school year.
The San Francisco Unified School Board adjourned Tuesday night’s meeting without taking up the issue of teacher cuts. School board president Gabriela López adjourned the meeting and said the board will continue the rest of the agenda on Thursday.
Part of the district’s budget cut plan includes changing how it pays AP teachers.
The change would most greatly impact high performing and academically rigorous schools that have a large number of students willing to be challenged in a classroom with college-level academics.
Lowell AP teachers staged a protest against their own union, UESF, before Tuesday’s school board meeting. They voiced opposition to the union giving a green light to SFUSD for taking away AP teachers’ prep period.
Gribler said right now AP teachers teach four, instead of five, classes to be considered full time employees. This is because teaching college-level classes requires more preparation and grading time.
“It’s a much higher level of instruction and testing than a normal class,” he said.
“If the UESF/SFUSD agreement passes at the board meeting, AP teachers will have to teach five classes to be considered full time. Since so many AP teachers teach four classes, making them teach five will create a surplus of over 30 teachers who will be laid off. This will also create surplus teachers at other SFUSD high schools that teach AP,” Gribler told KRON4 Tuesday.
Teachers said they are concerned about the school board making such a big decision during a time of “chaos,” immediately after a recall.
Lowell High School was recently spotlighted in Niche’s annual rankings as the best public high school in San Francisco. Lowell even made it into the top 20 for the state.