The following comes from an Apr. 30 story in Catholic San Francisco.

Catholic, private and charter K-12 schools face potentially devastating earthquake retrofitting and other costs and even school closures if the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passes a seismic evaluation ordinance being pushed by the mayor’s office, archdiocesan officials say.

“The City of San Francisco is poised to impose a crushing burden upon the Catholic schools of the city. And the worst part is that much of this burden is totally unnecessary,” Auxiliary Bishop Robert W. McElroy said.

A third of the children in San Francisco attend private or religious schools, the largest percentage in the state of California. “Most private schools have not been adequately evaluated for their performance in a serious earthquake,” says a December 2013 report by the Private Schools Earthquake Safety Working Group.

“While most San Francisco parents assume that all schools are required to be safe in earthquakes, this is not, in fact, the case,” the report says, noting that since 1933 public school construction has been regulated by the state Field Act while private school buildings fall under what were less stringent local building codes. The report estimates “33 percent of all San Francisco private school buildings have characteristics that indicate they might perform poorly in future earthquakes.”

The archdiocese and most private schools only became aware of the working group and its report near the end of last year although the group began meeting at the end of 2012, officials said.

“The problem with the proposed ordinance is not with its goal, but its design,” Bishop McElroy said.

“The ordinance grew out of the deliberations of a City Hall working group on private schools which had more than 40 members, but not a single pastor, principal or teacher from a Catholic School,” Bishop McElroy writes in a commentary appearing on Page 14 of this issue of Catholic San Francisco. “Nor did the panel include significant representation from the many non-Catholic private schools in San Francisco, especially those which predominantly serve the poor and students with learning or physical disabilities.”

Tor read the entire story, click here.