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Indybay Feature
SF Judge Rules School District Must Vacate Renaming
by Not to Be Missed
Saturday Mar 20th, 2021 10:04 PM
On March 18, 2021, Judge Ethan Schulman issued an Alternative Writ of Mandate in a lawsuit ordering the SF School District to either vacate the Board Resolution of January 26, 2021, the school renaming resolution, and dissolve the Renaming Committee, or show up in court on May 6, 2021 and explain why it has not complied with the order. See https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/SFSchoolNaming-ORDER.pdf
On March 18, 2021, Judge Ethan Schulman issued an Alternative Writ of Mandate in a lawsuit ordering the SF School District to either vacate the Board Resolution of January 26, 2021, the school renaming resolution, and dissolve the Renaming Committee, or show up in court on May 6, 2021 and explain why it has not complied with the order. See https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/SFSchoolNaming-ORDER.pdf

The Petition for Writ of Mandate may be viewed at
https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Alumni-v.-SFUSD.pdf

You can also view all the documents filed in this case at
https://webapps.sftc.org/ci/CaseInfo.dll?CaseNum=CPF21517410&SessionID=0A4D6D09AE2DE3B4C527C6E53EAB08CF15883CE5

The case is SF Superior No. CPF21-517410. The petitioners are:
Abraham Lincoln High School Alumni Association, George Washington High School Alumni Association, San Francisco Taxpayers Association, John Burton and Karen Sakata.

For those who have not been here for long, John Burton is an 88-year-old pillar of the Democratic Party, a lawyer, a former congressperson from San Francisco, former Chair of the California Democratic Party , former state senator, former state assemblyperson and a graduate of Lincoln High School. He is currently a member of the Port Commission. His presence as petitioner tells us which way the wind is blowing, namely against the school district's insanity of renaming 44 schools in the midst of a pandemic. Even without the pandemic, which has caused children to fall behind in school, the renaming of 44 schools was flawed, to say the least. For more on John Burton, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Burton_(American_politician)

Lincoln and Washington High Schools have enough upper middle class alumni to pay the bills for a lawsuit. One of the schools suggested for renaming is Lowell High School, currently the school district's academic high school which requires a test for entrance. It has nationwide respect as a top quality college preparatory high school. The school district recently vacated that test for the next freshman class. These 3 high schools are and for decades have been considered the top 3 academic public high schools in San Francisco. Further to rename schools named after Presidents Lincoln and Washington, the most honored presidents for their place in history, is simply ridiculous.

The renaming was recently paused because the Return to School after closing due to the pandemic is a difficult process. Even when all schools are open, the catch-up to grade level will take many months.

The Petition for Writ of Mandate covers lots of important legal points and should be read carefully by all.

For those of us who live, vote and pay taxes here but have no direct connection to the school district, it is a slap in the face to waste time and thousands of our tax dollars with this renaming of 44 schools, many of which do not deserve to be renamed, when we are facing a severe economic crisis due to the pandemic, and that includes funding the public schools. Nobody voted for any renaming at all when they voted for school board members.

Stay tuned for the May 6, 2021 hearing.
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