San Francisco City College faculty and staff rally at City Hall, submit signatures to qualify measure to invest in education and workforce training for underserved students
The revenue measure to fund critical services and programming has twice the number of signatures required to appear on the November ballot.
Dozens of San Francisco City College (CCSF) staff, faculty, and community supporters gathered on the steps of San Francisco City Hall yesterday, celebrating their victory in gathering over twice as many signatures as needed to qualify a critical revenue measure for the November ballot.
City College faculty and staff – members of SEIU 1021, AFT 2121, the SF Building Trades, and Stationary Engineers – have joined forces to put together a ballot measure that, if approved, will provide approximately $45 million in funding to strengthen the college’s programs and services in areas that are especially critical for the students with the highest levels of need.
“This ballot initiative is a historic collaboration among the unions of faculty and staff at City College to fully fund the college to make sure every SF resident has access to higher education and workforce development opportunities,” said SEIU 1021 Education Industry Chair and CCSF Classified Senate President Maria Salazar-Colón as she opened the press conference.
“Many of the students City College serves are those with the least access to traditional four-year universities and colleges, including: working adults, single parents, English language learners, formerly incarcerated people reentering, low-income students of color, homeless and formerly homeless students,” continued Maria.
“The funding provided by the SF WERCS ballot measure will allow City College to meet the needs of these students by investing in resources, programming, and wraparound services, such as courses in English as a second language (ESL), beginner computer skills, literacy, foundational academics, and more; vocational workforce training programs to give students a pathway to well-paid careers, such as nursing, biotech, plumbing, carpentry, EMT, and more; supports like childcare and family care, counseling, student health and healing resources, support for survivors of domestic violence, reentry programs, assistance with basic needs like housing and food, job placement, and more resources and services to help students complete their education.”
San Francisco City College is a unique, treasured San Francisco institution, offering free higher education and workforce training to the city’s most disadvantaged students. Its role in providing English language learners, formerly incarcerated adults, low-income students of color, and other underserved demographics with quality education and a pathway to well-paid careers is vital to helping them stay in San Francisco and to preserving the city’s vibrant character as a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds. However, decades of cuts to funding and programming, amplified by the COVID pandemic, have damaged City College’s ability to meet these students’ needs.
SF voters are already showing substantial support: The petition to put the measure on the November ballot has already gathered over double the roughly 9,000 signatures needed to qualify. Monday at 12pm, leaders of the effort rallied and spoke with media outside City Hall before turning in the signatures to put the initiative on the ballot.
San Francisco Supervisors Gordon Mar, Myrna Melgar, and Dean Preston also spoke in support of the ballot measure at the press conference.
Following the press conference, SEIU 1021 and AFT 2121 members walked the 20,134 signatures they had collected to qualify the ballot measure into City Hall and turned them in, where they are being verified. The ballot measure will need the support of 50 percent of voters plus one in order to pass in November.