As the San Francisco Unified School District submits to state oversight amid an ongoing budget crisis, we're now learning that the current plan to close a major deficit may include around 610 layoffs over the next two years.

It's going to be business as usual, mostly, for the 2024-25 school year for San Francisco schools, as the SFUSD continues to draw down from reserves to cover a $148.5 million in the district's $1.3 billion budget. But after state monitors moved in to oversee the district's budgeting process this spring, those monitors are mandating that this deficit be closed in the next two years, with the biggest pain to come in the 2025-26 school year.

That means that next summer is likely to bring pink slips for over 530 faculty and staff at the city's 132 schools, to be followed by another round of about 80 layoffs the following year, as the Chronicle is now reporting.

At issue is the district's declining enrollment — a problem that is being felt in many municipalities across the state — which means that less per-student funding is coming in from the state level.

San Francisco has seen a decline of around 10,000 students in the last decade, and now has 49,560 enrolled students.

The budget plan is also all but guaranteed to include closure and merger announcements for schools. As the Chronicle reported last week, the school board has been taking its first steps toward deciding which schools to close, with the closures to be effective by Fall 2025.

"We are at the point where we must implement major changes in order for the district to achieve long-term financial stability,” says Superintendent Matt Wayne in a statement. "While challenging, we want our community to understand that these reductions are necessary to put SFUSD on the path to fiscal solvency — which is the only way we will be able to provide the best possible learning environments for students."

This week, at Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting, Wayne is expected to share a set of criteria that will be used for determining which schools to close or merge. Per the Chronicle, the three main criteria will be equity, excellence, and effective use of resources, with equity weighed heavier than the other two criteria.

The district plans to employ a third-party researcher to assess the schools based on the board's finalized criteria, and present them with assessment scores, which will be used to determine closure and merger plans.

This process is likely to inspire some passionate protest and pushback from parents in the district, much as it did when the Oakland school board had to undergo a similar process two years ago. Parent protest succeeded in saving several schools from closure last year, and in January, the state Attorney General's Office issued a report saying that the district's 2022 closure plan was not equitable — and would have disproportionately impacted students of color and poor students. Any future closure discussions in Oakland will have to take equity issues more into account, the AG said.

The San Francisco Unified School District currently has 8,643 employees, including 3,364 full-time teachers, and 1,533 paraeducators.

According to district data, nearly half, 47%, of students in the district are considered economically disadvantaged, with a quarter of students being English language learners. The student body in the district is 32% Latino, 33% Asian, 6% Black, and 12% white, with the remainder of students claiming multi-racial or other ethnic identities.

Previously: State Monitors Take Partial Oversight of SFUSD Finances, as District Runs Risk of Going Broke