Education Funding

S.F. Eyes Cutting Prep Time for AP

By John Gehring — February 23, 2005 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Elizabeth Rogers spent an hour last week helping an Advanced Placement student revise a single paragraph in his persuasive essay. A veteran teacher and the chairwoman of the English department at Lowell High School in San Francisco, she views such time with students as essential to her job.

But as the 60,000-student San Francisco school district negotiates with the city’s teachers’ union for a new contract, one cost-cutting proposal would end preparation classes for many of the district’s 113 AP teachers. The district’s proposal comes as school districts nationwide are embracing the rigorous coursework and encouraging more students to take AP classes. (“Advanced Placement Courses Cast Wider Net,” Nov. 3, 2004.)

District leaders argue that if teachers want a raise, they must also agree to some of the cutbacks being discussed. Scaling back the extra prep period for those who teach AP, which costs the city schools $4 million a year, is one of those options.

Ms. Rogers, who has taught AP classes for more than 20 years, believes that’s an unfair proposition.

“If you eliminate the preparation time, you eliminate the AP program,” she said. “The attitude of the faculty is, we are not going to teach these classes without the acknowledgment of the work we put in. This is absurd. You can’t expect someone to do college-level work at the high school level without giving them a college situation.”

Tom Ruiz, the district’s director of labor relations, said he was surprised at the level of anger among AP teachers at a recent school board meeting.

“It is only a proposal,” he said. “We are trying to find ways to compensate teachers. All we have done is say to the union, ‘Can we talk about this?’ ”

Being ‘Creative’

United Educators of San Francisco, the local teachers’ union, is asking for a 12 percent raise over two years. The district has proposed maintaining the current salary structure for this year, and has offered a 1.5 percent raise for next year.

The most recent contract expired last June, and the district and the union held their first negotiating session earlier this month. The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 23.

Constraints in state funding for school districts, Mr. Ruiz said, have left San Francisco and other districts struggling to stretch dollars. “We are trying to be creative and deal with the hand the governor has given us,” he said.

All San Francisco high school teachers already receive one period during the day to prepare for their classes, and AP teachers have an additional period. They use the student-free time to write lessons, meet with students individually, set up science labs, and prepare for classes in other ways.

The proposal, which calls for cutting $1.8 million from the $4 million that pays for the extra AP preparation time, would still allow new AP teachers and some others to hold on to the period.

Other cost-cutting ideas include suspending or scaling back a sabbatical program and ending a $5,000 bonus for certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

“It’s a bargaining strategy by the district, who is saying they don’t have the money for raises without cannibalizing other programs,” said Dennis Kelly, the president of United Educators of San Francisco, an affiliate of both the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association that represents 6,000 teachers and classroom aides.

But Mr. Kelly believes that since the district gave Superintendent Arlene Ackerman a 12 percent raise last fall, money for teachers’ salaries and other programs like AP preparation periods should not be sacrificed. “What’s good for the goose,” he said, “is good for us little chickens, too.”

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the February 23, 2005 edition of Education Week as S.F. Eyes Cutting Prep Time for AP


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Recruitment & Retention Webinar
Be the Change: Strategies to Make Year-Round Hiring Happen
Learn how to leverage actionable insights to diversify your recruiting efforts and successfully deploy a year-round recruiting plan.
Content provided by Frontline
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Critical Ways Leaders Can Build a Culture of Belonging and Achievement
Explore innovative practices for using technology to build an environment of belonging and achievement for all staff and students.
Content provided by DreamBox Learning
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Professional Development Webinar
Strategies for Improving Student Outcomes with Teacher-Student Relationships
Explore strategies for strengthening teacher-student relationships and hear how districts are putting these methods into practice to support positive student outcomes.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Districts Steer Federal Teacher-Quality Funding Into Recruitment, Retention
Efforts to recruit teachers and create "grow your own" programs are in; class-size reduction and teacher evaluation are out.
5 min read
Blurred view of the back of students in a classroom with their hands raised answering to a female teacher
Education Funding In Their Own Words This Superintendent's Tiny, Rural District Got No COVID Aid. Here's Why That Hurts
The aid formula left Long Lake, N.Y., out of the mix. The superintendent worries that could happen for other kinds of aid in the future.
3 min read
Long Lake Superintendent Noelle Short in front of Long Lake Central School in Long Lake, N.Y., on Sept. 1, 2022.
Noelle Short is the superintendent of a single-school district in upstate New York with fewer than 100 students.
Heather Ainsworth for Education Week
Education Funding Grants Aim to Support Alaska Native Students' Education, Well-Being
The U.S. Department of Education is providing more than $35 million for projects in its latest round of funding.
2 min read
The East Anchorage High and Scammon Bay students gather at a home in the Native Village to learn how to comb fur from a musk ox hide using special combs and common forks. The fur can later be spun into yarn.
Students from East Anchorage High School and Scammon Bay, Alaska, gather to learn how to comb fur from a musk ox hide through a federally funded cultural and educational program for Alaska Native students.
Erin Irwin/Education Week
Education Funding District Leaders Plea to Feds: We Need More Time to Spend COVID Aid
Without more flexibility on the 2024 spending deadline, critical programs will be axed, they warn.
5 min read
Image of money and a timer.