The San Francisco School Board is keeping a controversial support program for gays in city schools even though it will add to the district's debt.
With layoffs looming and program cuts around the corner, the board voted unanimously Tuesday night to expand school services, track harassment and increase instruction on issues of sexual orientation. The Chronicle notes the plan also calls for adding a district position to manage lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth issues.
Even though it will add to the district's debt, board members agree the benefits of the program far outweigh the cost. The plan will cost the district at least $120,000 year. The district currently faces a $113 million budget shortfall over the next two years.
A district survey shows that nearly 13 percent of San Francisco's middle school students and 11 percent of high school students identify themselves as gay, lesbian or transgender. Those students are more likely to skip school because of bullying, become targets of harassment and consider suicide, district officials say.