Dec. 7 (UPI) -- San Francisco school officials said they want to spend $181 million from a city surplus on teacher salaries, in an effort to bolster the profession and improve education.
The extra funds came from the city's Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund, after baseline money is given to various agencies and services.
The San Francisco United School District is currently involved in a legal challenge to a new parcel tax that's supposed to pay its' teachers' salaries. Because of the limbo, however, school officials said they don't have the money to pay for a 7 percent increase in teacher salaries.
The money freed up by the city surplus, they say, could solve the problem.
"The district has started to give those raises to educators who are relying on those raises to continue," city supervisor-elect Matt Haney said. "But if the district doesn't receive additional funding ... they won't be able to continue the raises."
Some city officials, though, said the district is already receiving money from initial baseline payouts -- and the surplus funds should be spent elsewhere.
Mayor London Breed wants to spend it on affordable housing and homeless services. Haney, a former school board member, wants at least some of the money to go to teachers.
Breed spokesman Jeff Cretan said the mayor is firm on "homelessness and mental health and substance abuse disorders for people suffering on our streets."
"Obviously, a significant portion of this funding is going to education already. There are a lot of priorities for our city, and [Breed] will work with everyone on them," he added.
The SFUSD has received $54 million from the augmentation fund for child care, youth services and "rainy day" reserves.