San Francisco school board delays talks on reopening classrooms

The San Francisco Unified School District SFUSD postponed Tuesday's scheduled talks on how to safely reopen classrooms despite an ongoing lawsuit by the City Attorney’s Office, opting instead to work on renaming 44 of the city’s public schools.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued the San Francisco Board of Education and the SFUSD earlier this month for failing to devise a plan to get San Francisco’s 54,000 public school children back in the classroom.

Herrera’s suit alleges the school board and district have had 10 months to create a plan and join the city’s more than 110 private schools that have reopened since September. But instead, the Board of Education focused on renaming 44 schools they believed were offensive for their representation of "White supremacy."

Schools named after historical and currently prominent figures like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Dianne Feinstein have been slated for the chopping block for their connections to slavery, genocide and colonization.

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The decision is estimated to cost between $400,000 to $1 million to change school signs, uniforms, insignias and more.

SFUSD told KTVU, "The Board moved its discussion about the tentative agreement on health and safety standards with labor unions to February 23. The agenda for the meeting will be posted 72 hours before the meeting is scheduled to occur."

On Twitter, SFUSD posted, "Moving the meeting does not result in any delay in planning for & preparing to reopen school sites. The Board will likely ratify the tentative agreement with unions and SFUSD is preparing accordingly." 

An education reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle alleged the board's decision to delay of the meeting is linked to a new "legal issue" relating to the board’s move to rename the city’s schools.

New reports show that the School Names Advisory Committee was apparently mistaken in their research regarding several of the schools selected to be renamed.

Fox News could not verify with the board if the factual inaccuracies found in the committee’s decision-making process are related to the "legal issue" they are now addressing in Tuesday’s closed session.

Herrera expanded his lawsuit last week and issued an emergency order in a last-ditch effort to get the school board to address reopening the public school system.

The city’s board of education faces new allegations of violating students' rights to attend public schools under the state’s Constitution, discriminating against students on the basis of wealth – as only costly private schools have reopened – and violating the state’s law to "offer in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible."

"The reality is 54,000 public school children are suffering across our city," Herrera said. "Just sticking with the status quo and hoping the district came up with an effective plan wasn’t working."

A hearing has been set for March 22 to review the emergency order, and the board is expected to resume talks on reopening the city's public schools on Feb. 23. 

KTVU contributed to this report.