Budget Justice

 

Expanding the local and state public investment in the education, family supporting benefits and economic security of low-income families

Coleman monitors and provides ongoing analysis of the City and SFUSD budgets and supports collaborative efforts to protect and grow public investment in the education, family supporting benefits and services, and economic security of low-income and working class families of color in San Francisco. For example, we are actively monitoring the implementation the Children and Families First Initiative. We also monitor the broader city budget as it relates to low income children and families and the school district, and we share information through our Coleman Update e-newsletter, policy briefs, fact sheets, and workshops.

Coleman provides information and analysis to advocates, service providers, and policymakers throughout the city. Coleman also engages in seasonal budget advocacy efforts (e.g. member delegation meetings with elected officials and member testimonial at budget development hearings) and we provide capacity building support in the form of workshops and strategic coaching to allied organizations and agencies. Finally, Coleman will continue to play a leadership role in collaborative efforts to win progressive revenue strategies to advance equity locally, and statewide.

Coleman Budget Justice victories in recent years have included:

  • Protecting millions of dollars in city safety net funds from threatened budget cuts on an annual basis.
  • As part of the Progressive Revenue Coalition, helping to develop and win Prop E, an alternative business tax structure ballot initiative that raises additional revenue for critical services.
  • Hosting the SF Rising field operation to pass Prop 30, the statewide increase in the income tax for wealthy that brought in additional millions for local school districts.
  • Successfully advocating for new city funding for job readiness programs in District 11, where there has been zero historical city investment in workforce development.
  • Leading the 2-year coalition effort to develop and win the passage of Prop C, the “Children and Families First” initiative. Prop C renews more than $125 million in annual funding for school and children’s programs across the city, for the next 25 years.

A spotlight on Prop C – the Children and Families First Initiative

 

In November of 2014, Coleman led the Children’s Funding Community Coalition’s successful efforts to develop and pass Prop C, the “Children and Families First” initiative that renews more than $125 million in annual funding for school and children’s programs across the city, for the next 25 years. Prop C combined the renewal (and expansion) of the Children’s Amendmen and the Public Education and Enrichment Fund. The Children’s Amendment was passed by SF voters for the first time in 1991, thanks to a grassroots community-led campaign led by Coleman Advocates. Coleman also led the successful reauthorization campaign in 2000.  The Children’s Amendment mandates that the City sets aside approximately 3% of the city’s property tax revenue (in what’s called the “Children’s Fund”), to be spent on services for children, youth and their families. Coleman also provided key leadership to the Great Schools campaign that won passage of Prop H (now known the Public Education and Enrichment Fund) that sets aside millions in city funds for the school district every year.

Passage of Prop C means that San Francisco will continue to offer universal pre-school, afterschool programs, youth jobs, support for homeless youth and youth in foster care, libraries, art and music classes, health services in schools, violence prevention programs, family support centers, and countless other crucial services and programs for young people and families in every neighborhood in San Francisco.

Coleman played a central leadership role in the development, staffing, and coordination of the Coalition’s efforts. We engaged hundreds of community providers, young people and parents through town halls, conferences and online surveys to develop the policy recommendations that became the foundation for the initiative. As a direct result of our advocacy, a significant increase to the Children’s Fund was added to the legislation, as well as new support for transitional age youth. We trained students, parents, and service providers to be powerful spokespeople educating the staff, members, and clients of community organizations across the city about the importance of the initiative. And for the 6 weeks leading up to the elections, Coleman staff and members, along with our Coalition partners, went door to door in the neighborhoods where we live and work to get the word out to voters. Prop C renews more than $125 million in annual funding for school and children’s programs across the city, for the next 25 years.

After passage of the initiative, an advisory committee – Our Children, Our Families – was developed to create a policy agenda for children, youth, and families and coordinate resources, policy and practice between the SF City/County and SFUSD to create a more navigable, user-friendly environment. Coleman continues to organize, outreach for, and host  focus groups with our youth and parent members to inform the committee’s recommendations