A debt worth incurring.

This month the San Francisco School Board approved funding for additional instruction and services related to gay and lesbian issues. The school district is facing a $113 million shortfall over the next two years. Some argue that increased allocations are going the wrong direction. Let’s do a back-of-the-envelope cost/benefit analysis.

The allocation is for $120,000 per year. That is the approved allocation, or 0.03% of the district’s $400 million annual operating budget.

For this $120,000 – salaries for two classroom teachers – the City’s gay and lesbian students will have the attention of a district position to manage “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning” youth issues. The new resolution including the funding requires the district to monitor harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation. It’s about time!

According to the SFGate article** states that approximately 13% of San Francisco’s middle school students and 11% of high school students self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The article goes on to say these students are more likely to consider suicide.

It would be churlish to inquire where SFUSD has been on this issue of protection for the safety and dignity of our children. We rejoice in the district’s action now, and urge the district to fill those appointments without delay for everyone’s well-being. In fact, we would call this action a bargain. LLII.

** With apologies for the secondary source reference. The SFUSD site is data rich – so much that one can get lost. I simply didn’t have the staying power to find the primary budget data reference. Nonetheless, if you have an interest in school funding by program, check out SFUSD’s online resources. They are excellent. We understand the district’s library, open to the public, also is first-rate.

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