On eve of possible SFUSD reopening, S.F. schools superintendent announces retirement

March 11, 2021

San Francisco schools, already facing fiscal challenges, an ongoing pandemic and a city-led lawsuit, will now have to grapple with an imminent vacancy in the district’s top job with the departure of Superintendent Vince Matthews in June.

Matthews announced Wednesday he would retire at the end of the school year.

His departure follows a brutal couple of years of controversies and public backlash in the district, including rallies over reopening, protests against the renaming of schools, fights over admission to Lowell High School and months-long negotiations with labor unions over pending in-person instruction. The news comes just after a tentative deal was reached for some students to return starting April 12, though the agreement needs sign off from the union and the board.

Other challenges include negotiating with unions over what the school day will look like in the fall and navigating a more than $100 million shortfall next year with similar deficits in subsequent years. Federal stimulus funding and at least $39 million from the state for pandemic response could help ease the fiscal crisis.

In addition to those challenges, Matthews has tangled with the school board on multiple occasions, alluding to the friction in his announcement.