September 13, 2011
The funding deal means that 100 jobs at the San Francisco Supervisor Court are no longer on the chopping block, and 11 courtrooms slated to close will continue operating. The court will also receive $2.5 million in funding and a grant worth just over $600,000. It’ll also save $4 million a year due to layoffs.
The 11th hour funding deal is being called a “true compromise” by Superior Court Judge Katherine Feinstein, and one that will “lessen the blow on access to justice.”
Still, the deal doesn’t mean that things will remain status quo. Instead of 175 layoffs there will be 75, and instead of mothballing 25 courtrooms, 14 will put up a “Sorry, We’re Closed” sign out front.
And even after all of this, the court will still face a deficit of over $6 million in the current fiscal year, and is headed for a $20 million deficit in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
Despite helping broker the deal and breathing a sigh of relief, Feinstein says that the hard work isn’t over. Her next challenge will be to help create a long-term solution to deal with what she calls “inadequate trial court funding.” For a state that has repeatedly made international headlines for not having enough cash to pay for its existence, this next obstacle might make last week’s deal seem like a walk in the park.
However, while there are mountains to climb before this issue gets resolved (if ever), for the time being, it means that divorcing San Fransiscans don’t have to wait in prolonged agony for up to two years to have their day in court. And that’s good news, for a change.