Millions for Mission District schools: Where is the money going?

Mission Local
 — May 23 2012 - 7:03pm

They belong to a club where membership hinges on low reading and math skills, and high dropout rates. They’re some of the worst-performing schools in the state, even the country, and to shape up, the Mission’s six struggling schools took drastic measures to qualify for a share of a $45 million grant — including firing principals and replacing half the staff.

In December 2010, Bryant, Everett, Buena Vista Horace Mann, Mission High and John O’Connell began receiving an average of $1.6 million a year for three years from the new federal School Improvement Grant program.

Over the past several months, Mission Local has sought to understand where, exactly, the money is being spent and why. We’ve searched San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) school board agendas for budget proposals, spoken with the executive director of the district’s School Improvement Grant, Kevin Rocap, and looked into specific organizations that have received contracts under the grant. We will continue to follow what is happening at Mission schools and how the money is being spent throughout the three years of the grant.

It is far too early to draw conclusions about the success or failure of the various strategies employed using the grant funding, but we felt it was important to report on the issues, explain the underpinnings of some of the strategies, and provide information to district residents on a major reform that is under way.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.