tv ABC7 News Getting Answers ABC February 22, 2022 3:00pm-3:30pm PST
moving forward. finding solutions. this is abc7news. kristen: hello. i kristen sze -- i am kristen sze. you are watching "getting answers," where we get answers from experts in real-time. the san francisco school board is faced with a major vote tonight that could enable hundreds of layoffs and potential cuts to ap classes, depending on the u.s.. we will have a parent and the deputy superintendent discuss the future. this past weekend saw the return of the largest chinese new year parade outside asia. could the lunar new year soon become a state holiday? we will talk about it with a reporter from our media partner,
"the san francisco standard," but first, the situation in ukraine. present writing has announced severe sanctions against russia after vladimir putin declared two sections of ukraine and moved in troops as part of what putin called a peacekeeping mission. >> this is the beginning of a russian invasion of ukraine. who in the lord's name does putin think he is that gives him the right to declare new so-called countries in territory that belongs to his neighbors. this is flagrant violation of international law and the man's a firm response from the international community. kristen: the sanctions are primarily economic, design a cut off russia's financing. one sanction is the halting of a gas pipeline between russia and germany. joining us is nick from a nonprofit and sabrina, a political science professor at san jose state university specializing in post-soviet
politics. thank you for joining us. professor pennell, give us thei 32nd brimmer of what is happening, the history between russia and ukraine, putin's move and his endgame. >> first, it is ukraine, not the ukraine. second, it is a matter of the end of approximately eight years of civil war, where to breakaway regions, donetsk and have been dealing with russia for a tommy and putin has used this as a pretext to declare them independent countries. he did this before with breakaway regions in georgia and with crimea in 2019. so, this has happened kristen: why is this so concerning to the u.s. and rest of the world. -- of the world? >> because to do this, he not
only moved troops to the border with ukraine, he moved troops to belarus, on the border with ukraine in moldova, this is not just a potential attack on ukraine. it could be an attack on nato states. this could go even fur could goc ukraine. kristen: putin is questioning ukraine's right to exist as a country. how do you interpret that and feel about that? >> well, right now, it is crystal clear that this is a war for democracy and the law. ukraine needs help. this invasion has started. when russian troops are in ukrainian territory in the donbas. we need crippling sanctions on the entire russian economy and security guarantees in whatever way the u.s. and free world can give it to ukraine. i believe putin's hope is to destroy ukraine. the world should act now to fend
off this hostile attempt. kristen: before we dive into the sanctions announced today, i know you have lots of contact with friends and family and ukraine talk about your concern for the safety and what it is like for them right now. >> i am from harkev there, it is very close to the russian border. i am very concerned. folks there are very nervous. some are evacuating. a lot of them are staying put. some of them are signing up to be in territorial defense unit sprayed this really matters for the u.s. as well because ukraine is a peaceful country that never attacked russia. ukrainians want peace. this is not just ukraine, this threatens the stability of the world, the strength of international order and peace. in addition, he will risk raising fuel prices. kristen: that is something president biden referred to today. professor, how effective do you think these sanctions might be? president biden wanted to hit
the banking system in russia, and there is that gas pipeline. will this the enough to influence putin's actions? >> one thing to keep in mind here is that russia has been planning this for a wild. it has been dealing with sanctions imposed with crimea for a number of years. that has to be put into context. it will -- it may take more than sanctions to convince russia, but what with those additional measures be. we will have to see if the sanctions have an effect, and what damage that might do. kristen: president biden did say this is the first trench. the issue of troops appears to have been ruled out. >> the issues could be inflated in ways that are against u.s. interests. however, we have to think about nato countries next to the
border with ukraine as well as neighboring russia. but the fact that there are truths belarus is very concerning to the countries of poland and hungary. scale than just ukraine. but ukraine is caught in the middle. kristen: nick, do you feel the u.s. government and international community is doing enough? >> i am grateful to the u.s. and europe for what is being done. ukraine is not a nato member. we don't count on direct military support in troops. what ukraine did give up its nuclear arsenal in exchange for security assurances from the u.s. and other countries. we do need help. we need stronger sanctions. we meet -- we need more defensive weapons to fend off this russian aggression. kristen: professor, if this is putin's attempt to rebuild what was the old soviet union, as many in the west see it, what is
his next move? >> it will be important to see how he is going to interpret what donetsk and luhansk really mean. it could be where the russian troops are. it could be all the way to the formal borders that happened before the that were in place before the civil war. the next thing, will he extended further into ukraine? this pretext he is manufacturing is meant to secure the people who are in donetsk and luhansk, but if he claims to do that, he has to go further into ukraine, that is when we get concerned. kristen: nick, your continues providing aid to ukraine. can you talk more about that? what is it that you are unable to do right now? >> we have been helping ukraine for the past eight years. nowadays, we are talking to our
partners in ukraine and learning what they need most. there is training's for tactical netizen to help civilians give first-aid to each other in case of bombings. there is evacuation of folks from close to the lines, and even buying food and supporting the kids in some of the areas of ukraine. we are just rolling out additional humanitarian aid packages right now. we are fundraising from the ukrainian community in the bay area, which is sizable. there is at least 20,000 ukrainians in the neighborhood of san francisco. kristen: where should folks go for more information if they would like to help? >> they can help our fundraising efforts at novaukraine.org. kristen: nick biolgorskiy from nova ukraine and professor sabrina now, -- sabrina penn
recall election, the san francisco school board is taking a critical vote tonight that will affect every student in the district. the board, with recalled members still on it for a few more days, will be approving pink slips and a deal cut with the union that would end ap prep. today, the union that represents teachers held a rally urging the board to vote no to potentially cut hundreds of staff jobs. >> we need more, not fewer social workers and counselors. i simply don't understand the
priorities in the district. kristen: i should mention that was some union workers. members of the union don't all agree on this topic. joining us to discuss the planet potential impact is san francisco unified schools spokesperson ginger blithe and a parent and budget watcher, beth kelly. thank you for your time today. >> ahead of tonight's vote, we understand for hundred luminary layoff notices went out read was that done and necessary? >> first, i want to say it has been a stressful time for everyone working in public education. it is really sad that at this moment, we have to add to that stress when a kind of preliminary layoff notice. is it -- it is important for you to know that the only reason we have to do that is that we are facing a structural deficit.
that means the money we are getting end is not met the money we are spending. we have several reasons for that , one of them is declining enrollment. we have seen 3500 fewer students since 2019. and the state funds school districts based on student enrollment. we have seen rising pension costs, costs for students with special need at a variety of things contributing to the structural deficit. at the end of the day, unfortunately, we can't keep from cutting our workforce, which impacts our school sites. kristen: the structural deficit is the $125 million we have reported on. that has been approved, the cuts. is cutting hundreds of teachers central to that? i understand the process, sometimes you send out preliminary notices, but you may not actually have to cut that many. do you foresee having to cut hundreds of teachers actually? >> thanks for clarifying that.
what is going out on march 15 and what the board will be asked to vote on tonight are preliminary layoffs. those indicate to our employees that they are in a position that may need to be reduced. there is also a strong possibility that those people who receive those layoff notices will not in fact get a final layoff notice. because when certain positions will open up when there are resignations or retirements, you can hopefully move any current employees whose positions might be eliminated into those roles that open up, as long as their skill set and credential area lines up. kristen: but some pain is unavoidable, the exact number we don't know yet. what is also being voted on tonight is a tentative agreement the district and union agreed to. it affects funding to ap prep.
beth, you have been watching this. what is it about that? at what is your concern? -- and what is your concern? >> going back to the bigger picture, there was a balancing plan approved last year that is implementing a lot of cuts and changes and this is leading to very significant layoffs that are happening that gentle referenced. one thing that was not on the list that is happening now is a cut to something called ap prep. ap prep is a misnomer. it is essentially funding that schools get for ap programs, representing ap programs. and what is happening there is, those funds are going to be cut to schools. and that represents a huge amount of each school's budget. for example, for the school of the arts, that represents 9% of
their budget. for lowell, it represents 15% of their budget. that is concerning because it is a big change and wasn't one that was previously anticipated. kristen: what is your fear, that due to this loss of funding there will be cuts to teacher jobs and ultimately to ap classes? is that the line you are drawing? >> absolutely. a couple things are going to happen. under the current agreement, sfusd provides three prep periods. one allows an ap teacher to work one fewer period. another prep period pays for a replacement teacher to teacher that one period. and there is a third, almost incentive payment to the school, for having prep that is based on $600 times the number of ap
tests taken. you can break it -- you can break it down into thirds. and what is good to happen if this funding is got is, the ap teacher is going to lose their prep period, so they are going to work one period more for the same pay. they would lose funding to pay that replacement teacher. and they are losing funding for an additional period of school. so, the impact on teachers is a double whammy because some are working more for the same amount of pay, and others are going to lose their jobs. for students, it is slightly mitigated. it is kind of a wash. you get rid of the ap teacher's prep period, get rid of the replacement. , but then, that the additional classes going to be lost. and the fact is, all these high
schools need to provide the core graduation requirements first. sometimes we call it a-g requirements. kristen: i want gentle to comment, because the district did put out a statement that says ap classes will not be reduced. and in fact, more students could possibly enroll in ap. can you explain? >> absolutely. what we are proposing and what the teachers union has agreed to, we have a tentative agreement with the union and tonight the board will be voting on that, is to reduce the additional prep period for teachers in ap. we at sfusd has heard heard head college bargain we are the only district that they know of that has been providing that additional prep period. every teacher that teaches ap will have a prep period, as
every high school teacher does. it is just that we have this legacy practice that costs us $6.5 million a year, which has been going to fund an extra prep period. so it is not equitable for other teachers. >> that isn't the issue. there is current -- currently, teachers are receiving an additional prep period, a beat teachers, that is true. but what is being cut is not just a prep period and a wash. there is also a whole lament of funding associated with that, a very considerable amount of funding. kristen: can the district say that there will not be additional loss of teacher positions outside of the $125 million and the pink slips going out now as a result of this ap prep and associated money being cut? >> it is important to say that
the reason this is come i want to say suspended, the additional ap prep is being suspended, which will re-up money that will contribute toward bonuses -- free up money that will contribute toward bonuses for teachers, nurses, paraprofessionals who are part of the teachers union. in addition, teachers who teach ap prep will be given a $3000 stipend. that is a pre-existing stipendse under the labor agreement. kristen: thank you, so much. this is a complex issue we wanted to put out for viewers to understand, but i can see that it takes more discussion in time. thank you, both, for helping us understand what is being voted on tonight. thank you. i should let folks know that the teachers association, or the union, get reply a short time
parade in san francisco. it was quite the celebration, with familiar festive sights and sounds that delighted attendees after one-your hiatus due to the pandemic was in conjunction with the end of the lunar new year celebration and a bay area state lawmaker introduced a new bill to make this location a state holiday in california. joining us to talk about this and parade highlights, reporter fong -- hong lee media partner, "the san francisco standard." thanks for coming back, i know you covered the parade and got unique video in perspective. we will show them. i want to ask about ab 2596, the
bill proposing the state make the lunar new year a holiday. you talked with assemblyman lowe . why did he propose this? >> i got to sit down with assembly member lowe last week. he wants to make the lunar new year one of the most important festivals in our culture and estate what holiday. he told me it is an opportunity not only to uplift the asian american culture, but also to celebrate the diversity in california. kristen:ak of diversity uscelunar w ar. wh immigrant roots do? and maybe you could talk about how they gay percent as they are of the population. >> lunar new year is widely celebrated in asia, a lot of east asian countries in southeast asian countries. in california, we have about 6
million asian residents, 15% of the state population. chinese is about 1.6 million, significant amount of people celebrating the lunar new year. kristen: california, i think, currently recognizes 11 state holidays. anything comparable for other racial or ethnic group that recognizes their heritage or history? >> mlk day. san francisco just changed the name of columbus day to indigenous day. both of these reflect the civil rights movement, and in honor of the ethnic communities like the african-american community and native american community. kristen: we will see if this passes. meantime, you were at the parade held on saturday. let's start with attendance numbers. in the past, we have for this is the largest parade outside china come up to one million people. what was it like this time? >> i did see a lot of people.
sfpd announced 1.2 5 million people there, in and around chinatown, celebrating the festival. -- 1.2 5 million people there, in and around chinatown, celebrating the festival. i estimate that about 70,000. i am not an expert on crowds. kristen: did it seem like fewer people than in past years? >> there was a lot of people but compared to before, there were probably still concerns about the pandemic. but it is good to see people coming back to chinatown, bringing back crowds and tourists into the community and celebrating the lunar new year. kristen: it makes a big boost to the economy, no doubt. what was the scene? what did you note that was different in terms of the mu door who showed up? >> so, after two years of the pandemic, and the community struggling with the virus and also anti-asian hate violence, i
think there is hope in the community that this parade can bring back crowds enter -- crowds and tourists and just celebrating asian culture, welcoming others into the community and being part of a really inclusive environment and celebrating diversity. kristen: don't go away, we can continue to talk on facebook live while we take a short break. but we do have links to "the san francisco standard"
answering your questions. "world news tonight" is next. i will see you here at 4:00. ♪ tonight, president biden addresses the nation on vladimir putin. the president blasting putin, calling putin's actions the beginning of a russian invasion of ukraine. saying vladimir putin has announced he plans to essentially carve out a big chunk of ukraine. the president saying putin thinks he has the right to declare new so-called countries. putin giving the green light for russian troops in eastern ukraine. the president hitting russia with tough new sanctions tonight. republicans and some democrats pushing for those sanctions to be even more punishing. and bracing for the impact here at home. the markets already reacting today and gas prices, what americans should be prepared for. ian pannell from kyiv tonight. martha raddatz in ukraine. cecilia vega at the white house. and rebecca jarvis on gas prices and the effe