November 2016 Questionnaires

United Democratic Club

November 2016 Election

Board of Education / City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees / BART Board of Directors

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* Incumbent

 

 

San Francisco Board of Education Candidates

Stevon Cook

Are you currently a member of the Democratic Party? If so, for how long and how have you been

actively involved in recent years?

Yes, I am a current member of the Democratic Party. I have been especially active in the Democratic Party by registering and engaging voters as a candidate and supporter of campaigns. I plan to do more voter education in the future whether I have the opportunity to be elected or not.

In addition, this fall I hope to travel to one of the Battleground States to campaign for Hillary Clinton to mobilize swing vote communities. I am compelled to canvass for her campaign to secure a victory this November for our nation’s future.

 

Are you currently an elected member of the SFUSD Board of Education? If so, when were you first

elected? Do you have a personal or professional connection to SFUSD?

I am not a current commissioner of the SFUSD Board of Education, though I have closely collaborated with the SFUSD throughout my professional career, and am a graduate of PreK-12 public SFUSD schools. In my previous roles with the San Francisco Education Fund and as an academic advisor at Thurgood Marshall High School (my alma mater), I worked to support college readiness initiatives, improve school site-community partnerships, and advance higher education access for underserved students.

I currently serve as CEO of Mission Bit, and work with a range of SFUSD stakeholders (families, students, school site teams, and SFUSD administrators) to advance tech partnerships to teach students computer science courses that are after-school and project based. Additionally, I served as co-chair of the SFUSD’s Public Education Enrichment Fund Community Advisory Committee (PEEF CAC), a $60 million voter-approved fund to provide academic, developmental, and wellness services for SFUSD’s K-12 students.

 

On what experience and criteria should the BoE focus when searching for a permanent replacement

for Acting Superintendent Myong Leigh?

I am excited about the prospect of hiring a new Superintendent, but I also have the upmost respect for Myong Leigh and his years of service with SFUSD. Being San Francisco, I believe we were are going to have access to some of the most accomplished educators and administrative leaders in the country. I have no doubt that a search committee will be able to put forward an incredible group of qualified men and women. That said, we have a history of taking progressive approaches to education reform. We have hired leaders that are diverse and have extended experience working with the populations we serve.

Once we have come up with a short list, it’s also important that we create a community input process so stakeholders such as Coleman Advocates, Parents for Public Schools, SF Parent PAC, African American PTA and others have a real say in picking our next superintendent. Building a community process is an important message to our stakeholders that we’re going to need everyone on board to help achieve our strategic outcomes.

The Board of Education and SFUSD should thoroughly conduct a national search which selects the top candidates who have demonstrated proven success in advancing equity, fiscal responsibility, and a student-centered agenda across similar-sized school districts. We need a superintendent that exercises cultural humility in entering the context of San Francisco and our district, as it is a challenging time for our educators, families, and students. We need a superintendent who can advocate for policies and funding which support all SFUSD stakeholders to meet their quality of life needs, and experience a transformative learning environment to thrive in the San Francisco Bay Area through the quality of our education.

 

Should non-citizens be allowed to vote in BoE elections? Yes or no, please explain why.

Yes, non-citizens should be allowed to vote because many of their children attend our public schools, and are affected by the decisions the Board of Education make. Furthermore, some of the employees that work in our schools are non-citizens, and they should have a right to vote in order to determine their working conditions and leadership that influences their livelihood.

 

Do you support the current BoE position regarding non-traditional teacher training and placement programs, like Teach for America (TFA)?

The school board elected to end the District’s partnership with TFA, and I support this decision. We have a problem around a lack of interest in the teaching profession that is much bigger than the 15 contracts we lost with TFA. SFUSD is experiencing an unprecedented teacher shortage and educators are leaving our district at a high rate, and our local colleges have low enrollment rates for their teacher credentialing programs. We need to update the teaching profession to make a relevant for today’s young professionals and those looking to change careers.

I would reconsider a TFA partnership that extend its contract from two years to five years and we added a residency component. Under this model, we could better support new teachers before they started in the classroom. In addition, our research shows that it takes five years for schools to experience a turnaround and teachers that stay at least five years are more likely to become life long educators.

 

Do you have a plan or approach to addressing the current SFUSD teacher shortage?

The teacher shortage happening here is also playing out statewide, but there are a few measures I believe we can take to improve the situation in the short and long term. In the short term, we need an aggressive recruitment strategy that uses new age tools to reach a new generation of young people that we can attract to the teaching profession. I would like to see SFUSD have strong connections to HBCUs, small liberal arts colleges and doing a stronger job of creating pathways that put our paraprofessionals in a position to become teachers. Long term, we have a to create a professional package that includes higher wages, housing support and career advancement opportunities to make the professional more attractive to potential

teachers. Local districts like Pittsburgh have provided bonuses for public school alumni who return home and teach in their schools. I believe SFUSD can mirror this practice and provide financial incentives for district alumni who choose to return to their communities and become educators.

 

Do you support existing charter public schools in San Francisco, and would you support new

non-profit charter public schools in San Francisco? Why or why not?

We have charters in San Francisco such as Five Keys Charter school that provide unique services and experiences for our students. I disapprove of the privatization and corporate backing of charter schools that also seek to systematically push out disabled and low-performing students. That said, I am not anti-charter and I believe that we have strong charters in San Francisco such as Gateway High School and Leadership High School that have had a long commitment of serving African American and Latino students.

With that, I would support a new charter depending on the focus, leadership and model of the school. Part of the reason I’m running for Board of Education is because I want our district schools to be the best. District public schools are and will continue to be my top priority.

 

Rob Geller

 

Are you currently a member of the Democratic Party? If so, for how long and how have you been actively involved in recent years?

Yes, my whole life, and I’ve got the McGovern pin I bought for 50 cents when I was 12-years-old to prove it! Recently, I worked on the campaign for Bernie Sanders, and have worked for and voted for many Democrats over the years. The first time I ever voted, I voted for Jerry Brown and against Proposition 13, so you can’t blame me! RFK was my Senator when I lived in New York as a child. We loved him, although my Dad never forgave him for Joe McCarthy.

Are you currently an elected member of the SFUSD Board of Education? If so, when were you first elected? Do you have a personal or professional connection to SFUSD?

I am not an incumbent, but I’ve worked for the City and County of San Francisco in Public Health Finance for 17 years, and have two children in SFUSD schools, one in her second year at Lowell High School, one going into middle school. Also, my wife is a bilingual classroom teacher, and my brother Lou Geller taught in the District for many years until his untimely passing. I’ve had at least one child in the schools over the past 10 years, and have been active and engaged in their schools and education. Probably my favorite thing so far has been playing guitar on “Rainbow Connection” behind a bunch of Alvarado Elementary School 1st-graders at a Pride assembly.

On what experience and criteria should the BoE focus when searching for a permanent replacement for Acting Superintendent Myong Leigh?

I would like to see a Superintendent with classroom experience, and administrative experience, and one who won’t announce he is leaving three weeks before school starts! I would hire a Superintendent who pledges to bring all voices to the table, including traditionally marginalized voices, and has some fiscal sensibilities. Mr. Carranza was a smart, well-spoken leader, and my daughter was in many Honors classes with his daughter Aida at Aptos Middle School. Sadly, and ironically, Carranza presided over the demise of those very Honors classes the year after they completed middle school! Nonetheless, I thought it was an interesting testament to Mr. Carranza’s integrity that his daughter failed to audition into SOTA, and he didn’t try to sway the decision in any way. She ended up at Mission, or in Houston.

Should non-citizens be allowed to vote in BoE elections? Yes or no, please explain why.

I think non-citizens should be able to vote in Board of Education elections provided the voting booth is not their only engagement with the schools and District. That means attending PTSA meetings, Board meetings, Parent-Teacher conferences, Back-to-School Nights, etc. A high level of involvement in their child’s education and school would show a commitment to the community, and a level of citizenship that would make their non-citizen status a mere formality, and would be worthy of a vote. Logistically, though, it sounds like a nightmare, unless the voting is done through the school, at a PTSA meeting, or similar assembly.

Do you support the current BoE position regarding non-traditional teacher training and placement programs, like Teach for America (TFA)?

I’m not a big fan of Teach for America because their only requirement is a Bachelor’s degree and five weeks of training, which doesn’t seem like a whole lot. I believe we need to have fully-qualified, credentialed teachers in the classroom to really do justice to our students. There have to be new incentives for young people to go into teaching, and respect and high pay for veteran teachers. I do support the SF Teacher Residency program and the Para-to-Teacher pathway, two initiatives that have a proven track record. 80% of teachers who go through SFTR stay with the District for at least five years.

Do you have a plan or approach to addressing the current SFUSD teacher shortage?

Hire more teachers! And hire more teachers of color! Repeal Proposition 13, so we can have a lot more money from property taxes for recruiting and hiring quality teachers! Clearly teacher housing and affordability are major problems in this town, so we need to build dedicated teacher housing, and protect and expand rent control for those who are already here. Teachers need to live in the communities in which they teach, but they can’t afford to pay 64% of their wages for rent! I will focus on this as a Board Commissioner. The $5 million in the $744 million bond measure for teacher housing is a good start, but we need a lot more, maybe $100 million, plus the $20,000 offered to individual teachers to buy property through the Teacher Next Door program is ridiculously low–we should add a zero to that, and make it $200,000.

Do you support existing charter public schools in San Francisco, and would you support new non-profit charter public schools in San Francisco? Why or why not?

I would support a small number of new non-profit charter schools–I don’t think a few more would siphon off too much money from the SFUSD budget. One-third of SF children attend private schools–if we can entice some of those students back into the public schools with appealing, narrow subject focused charters, it will be good for the District and community. Right now competition to get into the charter schools is pretty fierce. I wouldn’t mind seeing another school like Creative Arts Charter. Or a math-focused charter school. Or a music-focused charter. Or an organic-food-farming-focused charter.

 

Matt Haney*

 

Are you currently a member of the Democratic Party? If so, for how long and how have you been actively involved in recent years?

 

Yes. Since I was 18. I have been deeply involved in the Democratic Party at the local, state and national levels. I served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2008 and 2012, including as a member of the Platform Committee in 2012. I served as a delegate to the California Democratic Party for three terms, and have attended the convention for 10 straight years. I am a member of a number of local Democratic clubs here in SF, including as a former Board Member of the San Francisco Young Democrats. I was proud to be endorsed by the San Francisco Democratic Party in 2012.

 

Are you currently an elected member of the SFUSD Board of Education? If so, when were you first elected? Do you have a personal or professional connection to SFUSD?

 

Yes. I was elected in 2012. I am the President of the Board.

 

On what experience and criteria should the BoE focus when searching for a permanent replacement for Acting Superintendent Myong Leigh?

 

We should find someone with a track record of success in an urban school district, of closing the racial achievement gap, actively engaging and collaborating with teachers, parents and students, and leading with bold vision and creativity.

 

Should non-citizens be allowed to vote in BoE elections? Yes or no, please explain why.

 

Yes. I have been strongly supportive of this initiative. It is critical that all our families, including the many immigrant families in SFUSD, have the opportunity to have a voice in who represents them on the BoE.

 

Do you support the current BoE position regarding non-traditional teacher training and placement programs, like Teach for America (TFA)?

I believe that teachers should be treated as the professionals that they are, and that teacher preparation should include significant time in the classroom before being hired as the full-time classroom teacher. We should also be preparing teachers who want to serve as teachers for more than a short period of time, and build up our homegrown programs while strengthening our partnerships.

For those reasons, I support the district’s current thinking with regards to TFA. I would much rather see us expand programs like the SF Teacher Residency and Para-Professional to Teacher program, which have much higher rates of retention, and work closely with our local Universities to meet our needs as a district.

For more on my view on TFA, this is an op ed I wrote on the issue with VP Walton: http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/article/San-Francisco-has-better-alternatives-to-Teach-8330213.php

 

Do you have a plan or approach to addressing the current SFUSD teacher shortage?

In order to address our teacher shortage, we have to also address the affordability crisis that is causing such strain and turnover. To do that, we must pay our teachers and staff more; give them the support they need to be successful; and help our staff secure affordable housing. We cannot have a world-class public education system if our teachers cannot afford to live here.

SFUSD can play a more proactive role—by using our own land, in partnership with the City, to build housing specifically for teachers. I think in the future, as we look to build new schools and expand sites, we should also look at ways that we can add housing for educators. We can partner with the City to increase down payment assistance, and expand support to include rental subsidies for educators. Plus, I think that SFUSD can provide more direct support to educators—in supporting them when facing eviction and in providing housing resources to educators. I have consistently advocated for all of these measures during my time on the Board of Education. Here is a link to an Op-Ed I wrote about how I view this issue in the SF Examiner called “Affordability Crisis Hurts Teachers:” http://archives.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/affordability-crisis-hurts-sf-teachers/Content?oid=2802877

In addition, we must look at innovative ways to help our teachers go to the schools with the highest needs and stay there–this must mean more support in the classroom, better working conditions, higher pay.

Finally, we should focus on building up our own teaching force, with programs like the San Francisco Teacher Residency and the Para to Teacher program, which can help to address our retention and recruitment challenges. In the next year, I will push for us to double the number of teachers that are produced through each of these two programs, and work to establish new collaborative partnerships to bring more teachers from both USF and SF State. San Francisco Unified is well positioned to address our own teacher needs, but we must be more proactive and build stronger partnerships.

Do you support existing charter public schools in San Francisco, and would you support new non-profit charter public schools in San Francisco? Why or why not?

 

I support the existing charter public schools that we have in San Francisco. I have voted for and against charter renewals and applications in the past. I consider each new charter application very seriously and diligently, in line with our responsibilities under the law.

 

Ian Kalin

 

Are you currently a member of the Democratic Party? If so, for how long and how have you been actively involved in recent years?

 

I have been a registered Democrat since I turned 18 in 1998. In recent years I have been active by donating, volunteering, and helping raise money for Democrats running for office. These Democrats include President Barack Obama, Congressman Jared Huffman, Supervisor Mark Farrell, State Senate Candidate Scott Wiener, and others. I am also a political appointee of President Obama, working everyday to deliver the Democratic Party’s vision and policies to all Americans.

 

Are you currently an elected member of the SFUSD Board of Education? If so, when were you first elected? Do you have a personal or professional connection to SFUSD?

 

I am not currently an elected member of the SF Board of Education. My interest in SFUSD began when I was unable to answer a simple question: is the school across the street from my home a good fit from my son? From there, I began volunteering in various capacities at SFUSD including fund development, family outreach, technology improvement and community building. In this work, I learned about the details of the SFUSD’s financial crisis.

 

On what experience and criteria should the BoE focus when searching for a permanent replacement for Acting Superintendent Myong Leigh?

 

One of the most influential decisions the BoE makes is in choosing the Superintendent. The BoE usually relies on the Superintendent to implement the majority of the administrative and curriculum initiatives of the BoE. Therefore, an actively involved BoE should find a Superintendent that is willing to work very closely with them. Broadly speaking, there are obvious executive management traits that the BoE should seek: experience managing a large and diverse district like ours, commitment to long-term improvements, etc. But there are more timely and novel criteria that I fear the current board will not prioritize sufficiently such as experience partnering with the private sector, fundraising, introducing innovative workforce practices, strengthening HR practices, and reforming the transparency and accountability systems in order to improve overall performance. Typically, the BoE looks for an teacher-turned-principal-turned-administrator. Instead, I think what they should be looking for is a teacher-turned-entrepreneur-turned-executive.

 

Should non-citizens be allowed to vote in BoE elections? Yes or no, please explain why.

 

 

Yes — non-citizens should be allowed to vote in elections for the Board of Education. Immigrant families

have as much at stake in the quality of our schools as any other families, and allowing them to have a say in school administration is a better reflection of our democratic values.

 

Do you support the current BoE position regarding non-traditional teacher training and placement programs, like Teach for America (TFA)?

 

I strongly disagree with the Board of Education’s recent position regarding Teach for America. As the school year begins, we are once again experiencing a critical teacher shortage. It makes no sense to turn away candidates, such as TFA Fellows, that satisfy and exceed the hiring standards of the school principals. The school principals that ignored the BoE’s TFA policy were right in saying that they could not let misinformed politics get in the way of students’ needs.

 

Do you have a plan or approach to addressing the current SFUSD teacher shortage?


Yes. The full details of my plan is linked here. In summary, we need to increase school funding so that we can address the teacher shortages at three stages: recruiting new teachers, providing professional development for existing teachers, and retaining top talent through mentorship and leadership pathways.


In addition to cost savings through improved operational efficiencies, we will need to raise revenues in three stages. First, we must engage more aggressively with our local community to improve public-private partnerships, and take advantage of underutilized funding instruments such as Social Impact Bonds, which can be used to drive better outcomes around specific programs such as early education. Second, we should consider new, local revenue generating measures such as parcel taxes. San Francisco voters have never rejected an opportunity to send more resources to our public schools and we need to leverage this support beyond the big facilities bond this November. Third, we need to unwind the statewide policies that got us into this funding crisis in the first place and reform Prop. 13. This is a long-term problem that will require patient cooperation and partnership with leaders in Sacramento and Los Angeles to work with the legislature on regulatory compromises like split-roll assessments on corporate property. It will be a challenge. But I believe it is a problem we must address to solve our teacher shortage in the long term.

 

Do you support existing charter public schools in San Francisco, and would you support new non-profit charter public schools in San Francisco? Why or why not?


Yes. I do support existing charter schools in San Francisco and would consider supporting new non-profit charter schools. While we must carefully think through all allocations of resources, charter schools have been the sites of some of the best innovations in education that can then be applied to the wider system. That said, there are certain aspects of the current charter school relationship with SFUSD that are not optimal. For example, charter schools do not have the same reporting requirements to receive funding through the State’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and their adoption of Common Core standards has less oversight from district leadership than their public school counterparts. Although I deeply appreciate the role of charter schools in our broader education ecosystem, if you get public money you must also be subject to public oversight and standards.

 

Phillip Kim

 

Are you currently a member of the Democratic Party? If so, for how long and how have you been actively involved in recent years?

Yes, I am a Democrat and have been since I registered to vote in 2008.

Are you currently an elected member of the SFUSD Board of Education? If so, when were you first elected? Do you have a personal or professional connection to SFUSD?

I am not a currently elected member of the SFUSD Board of Education. I currently work at KIPP Bay Area Schools, a non-profit public charter school network which has 11 schools across the Bay including three schools in SFUSD (two in the Bayview District, and one in the Western Addition). I focused much of my work this past academic year at KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy, coaching science teachers and assisting in data and operations.

As a resident of San Francisco, I want to ensure SFUSD is a District that every family in our community trusts will bring an excellent education to their child. As a young resident, I am committed to building deep roots in San Francisco and, one day, raising a family here. I will be relentless in pursuing excellence for our schools so that SFUSD continues to be an attractive District for families and students.

 

On what experience and criteria should the BoE focus when searching for a permanent replacement for Acting Superintendent Myong Leigh?

In searching for a new Superintendent of SFUSD, I will prioritize seeking an individual with expertise in educational practices, with the ability to differentiate priorities across multiple levels of an organization (from teacher/student perspective up through systems-level thinking). I value a Superintendent’s ability to actively seek out the voices of parents, teachers, and students. Ideally, this individual would have experience as a teacher, educator, and administrator, and would pull from their own experience and the experience of those around them to deliver on the vision and direction that SFUSD’s Board sets. However, I believe the Superintendent is also in a position to be innovative and creative, not only listening to and delivering on the priorities of the Board, but also providing a perspective from inside the District and schools that push us to continuously ask how we can do better to serve all students.

I believe our next Superintendent should have an unquestioned integrity as exhibited by their past experience in building relationships, and an unwavering commitment to building an equitable District that serves all students. I would want a Superintendent who is just as excited to be working with the adults at the District level as they are passionate about being as proximal to students, teachers, and parents as possible. This individual would be intimately aware of the value of people within SFUSD and come with a growth mindset for adults and children.

Should non-citizens be allowed to vote in BoE elections? Yes or no, please explain why.

I support non-citizen voting for Board of Education elections. As a Public School District, we must strive to provide the best education for all students who attend SFUSD. In being a student of SFUSD, I believe we as a District must also recognize the many factors that go into the success of a student, including the role of parents and family. Because of these reasons, I believe all parents of SFUSD, regardless if they are citizens or not, should be able to vote in Board of Education elections.

Furthermore, as a Sanctuary City, I believe we must also affirm the voices of immigrant and non-citizen families and recognize that they may have children who attend SFUSD. In allowing non-citizens to vote in Board of Education elections, we are welcoming the voice of all parents in our community.

Do you support the current BoE position regarding non-traditional teacher training and placement programs, like Teach for America (TFA)?

I am an alum of the Teach for America program. While it is not a perfect organization and is not a long-term sustainable answer for our District’s (and country’s) hiring problems, I do believe it is one pipeline to get educators into a classroom that would otherwise have a long-term substitute. Teach for America has already expressed their dedication in finding talent for our hardest to staff schools and subject areas. Furthermore, I think the decision of some principals to pursue Teach for America teachers without the endorsement of the Board of Education proves that the need is there. Simply put, there are not enough teachers to meet the hundreds of openings that SFUSD has each year. I support the work of the SF Teacher Residency Program, but until that can sustainably and reliably bring in credentialed teachers to every classroom in need, I do believe we need to partner with organizations such as Teach for America to meet our hiring needs. I think the bigger issue is that our retention of staff is low and teacher turnover is high. What can we do to ensure teachers are staying and growing in SFUSD, so that our retention increases and turnover decreases? I am dedicated to working with the District to find a solution.

I do believe that our traditional credentialing program can often times be a barrier and burden on our teachers. I am committed to exploring ways that our District can better assist teachers in receiving their teaching credential so that bureaucratic paperwork does not get in the way of attracting the best teachers into our classrooms.

Do you have a plan or approach to addressing the current SFUSD teacher shortage?

If elected, I will make it my primary goal to raise teacher salaries. As a former teacher at a public school in the Bay Area, providing teachers with a salary that enables them to live and work in their neighborhoods is incredibly important to me. I think this can also be achieved by considering alternative housing developments to ensure our teachers have a stable and affordable place to live. I want to explore possibilities of parcel taxes in bringing in additional income in the future, and look towards our distribution of LCAP dollars and QTEA funding to align to our goal of ensuring teachers are compensated for their work.

Beyond salary, I believe teacher experiences at school sites have a great impact on retention of staff. From the moment a new teacher joins SFUSD, I want to ensure they have all that they need to be successful. From lowering barriers of hiring and credentialing into SFUSD, to increased teacher feedback and coaching, I am particularly interested in ensuring teachers have the adequate coaching and school-site supports to be continuously developed.

Do you support existing charter public schools in San Francisco, and would you support new non-profit charter public schools in San Francisco? Why or why not?

I support SFUSD’s choice program in regards to school assignment. I believe parents should be empowered to decide where they believe their student would be best served by the District. In that same perspective, I believe that if a charter school can show that there is a demand by parents to fill a need that SFUSD is not able to provide, that community should be empowered to offer and build a solution that meets that need. I believe it is our role as a public school District to do all that we can to meet the needs of all our families, and to work hard in ensuring our families have excellent District school options to enroll their children in. If we know that we are not able to adequately serve a particular need by the community, it is our job to ensure that we find a way. I believe charter schools are one way to meet this community demand.

I support the work of the charter schools I am familiar with in San Francisco, knowing that many charter schools in San Francisco serve students who have traditionally been underserved by SFUSD. If another petition were to come in front of the Board for approval, I would hold it to the same high bar of excellence and expectation that we would for our District schools, and would look for demonstrated support from the community and take into consideration the alignment to our vision for building safe, supportive, and high-performing schools for all students in every part of our City.

Trevor McNeil

Are you currently a member of the Democratic Party? If so, for how long and how have you been actively involved in recent years?

 

Yes. Ever since I was 18. I started volunteering for the San Francisco Party in 1996 and in 2006 was elected to the Democratic County Central Committee where I recently finished serving as vice-chair for voter registration.

 

Are you currently an elected member of the SFUSD Board of Education? If so, when were you first elected? Do you have a personal or professional connection to SFUSD?

 

Not currently a commissioner. My personal connection to the SFUSD is that I worked for them and currently tutor their students.

 

On what experience and criteria should the BoE focus when searching for a permanent replacement for Acting Superintendent Myong Leigh?

 

I think somebody with a strong background in project management. We spent the last year coming up with mission statements and goals (and resolving a lot of the politics around them) and now I think we need someone who is focused on outcomes and efficiencies within those frameworks – not necessarily an ideality reformer coming in with their own frameworks. I also think someone who has worked in a district that has diversity similar to our – many big cities have mono-culutral populations of scale whereas we have very different sets of needs balancing struggling schools in the southeast, Asian families (who make up the bulk of both our poverty students and achieving test takers), and middle class westside families newly swelling our attendance rolls.

 

Do you support the current BoE position regarding non-traditional teacher training and placement programs, like Teach for America (TFA)?

 

I was at those BoE meetings and understand the positions and the votes. But no, I don’t think I would have made that vote this year.I think that there could have been conditions places on it. If we had said to TFA – you have to provide us candidates that are education majors (or something else showing a likelyhood of long-term commitment to the craft) or possess certain language skills or can commit to a longer stay, then sure. If not, I understand their position — teaching can’t be something anyone can do after a few weeks training and four years at elite schools. TFA is also a threat to current teachers who cost more and that’s a good thing – we are professionals and in a union – it rubs me wrong in many ways the fundamental model. However, we are in a teacher crisis so I think pulling the cord was a little hasty and language could have been included to say — if in the event we don’t have a full work base by mid-July, we’ll partner with TFA. Another compromise I want to work on further is copying what NYC, Chicago, and I think New Orleans have where TFA has been franchised out in a way and the local district actually has a great amount of oversight, partnership, and aids in recruiting. My style in general is to cooperate with people and get things done rather than just stand on principle when students need to be served.

 

Should non-citizens be allowed to vote in BoE elections? Yes or no, please explain why.

 

Yes. Anything that would increase the involvement of parents in their schools I think should be encouraged. The arguments against it I can understand, but fall flat next to that one.

 

Do you have a plan or approach to addressing the current SFUSD teacher shortage?

 

I am the only candidate consistently talking about the elephant in the room – 30% of our school-age children attend private school. That’s the highest in the country. Now, why they attend, is a big issue. But who’s teaching them. If you do the math and remember that private schools have classsizes roughly 65& of SFUSD, that means close to 40% of teachers in San Francisco on any given day are private school teachers often making less than the DIstrict pays. Who are these folks? How did they get started? Do they need help navigating the credentials process (our HR does not do this well)? Are they hooked because the private schools have outside headhunters, huge centralized job fairs, and a reliable hiring calendar?

 

Obviously we need to pay teachers more. Period. You can’t get around that when it comes to recruitment. But I think there is a lot we can learn in the “customer experience” of teachers looking for a home in the District. Whether it be mentorships, housing help, the dignity of a business card – as the only public school teacher in this race – I will always be a voice for the folks on the frontline.

 

Do you support existing charter public schools in San Francisco, and would you support new non-profit charter public schools in San Francisco? Why or why not?

While some charter schools are benign places of innovation in partnership with public schools (I think of Creative Arts as an example), there are some sketchy players out there taking public goods and putting them in private hands, teaching only to the test. The charter school movement risk dismantling the democratic concept that we as the public are invested in the public goal of teaching the next generation together, and cherry-pick/expel students to maximize scores. These are not schools, they are test-taking factories at best and centers for profit and privatization at worst.

But if there is a non-profit charter school that is offering a service, class, or education model we aren’t and is demonstrating a willingness to partner with the Distirct by either helping us train new teachers, facilitate summer schools, or partner with our union (CACS for example is a member with UESF even though they’re a charter) then I will work with them. Again, I may have a reaction against charters as a union rep and public school teacher, but I’m not close-minded and have seen great things at charters. Ultimately, if you can convince me that it will help our kids, I’m all for it.

Rachel Norton*

Are you currently a member of the Democratic Party? If so, for how long and how have you been actively involved in recent years?

 

Yes. I have been a Democrat since I first registered to vote in August 1984.

 

Are you currently an elected member of the SFUSD Board of Education? If so, when were you first elected? Do you have a personal or professional connection to SFUSD?

 

Yes, I was elected to the Board in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. I have been a public school parent since 2002. My daughters are currently attending high school in the district.

 

On what experience and criteria should the BoE focus when searching for a permanent replacement for Acting Superintendent Myong Leigh?

 

I continue to believe that the best chance we as a school district have to realize sustained and lasting gains in student achievement will be a stable administration. I was very disappointed when Mr. Carranza chose to go to Houston – he had previously told the Board that he was very happy in San Francisco and had no plans to leave.

As we look for a new Superintendent, I would like to find a leader who is committed to us over the long-term – who is either from our community (not necessarily an insider to the district) or who is deeply in love with our City and less motivated by personal ambition. I also think we need a leader who is seen by parents as being more of a partner than our current leadership. And of course, we want someone who is committed to our path of equity, social justice and closing the racial opportunity/achievement gap.

 

Should non-citizens be allowed to vote in BoE elections? Yes or no, please explain why.

 

Yes, The school board makes decisions that affect all families, not just those who are citizens. I support this Charter Amendment because I think it will lead to non-citizens being more engaged in our decision-making and how it affects their children.

 

Do you support the current BoE position regarding non-traditional teacher training and placement programs, like Teach for America (TFA)?

 

I withdrew my support for the Teach for America contract this past May. Though I’m loath to limit the staff’s ability to recruit new teachers, it has begun to seem pointless to go through a very divisive debate every year for 15 intern teachers. It’s clear that the teachers’ union is very opposed to this program and their representatives made some good points about repurposing our modest investment in TFA teachers to invest in other programs (San Francisco Teacher Residency is one example) that have better retention rates. In the end, the larger problem is that we have a crisis in our schools that serve some of our neediest populations, and we need to think bigger and more radically than we have in the past to deal with the teacher shortage issue and stabilize staffing in those schools.

 

I am unhappy that we did not have enough teachers hired to fill every vacancy when school opened, and yet our other teacher pipelines — more successful pipelines like SF Teacher Residency — are producing more teachers (indeed, more than enough new teachers this past spring to replace the loss of 15 TFA interns). TFA is not a solution to the teacher shortage, and our fixation as a community on this debate ignores the larger issue: we don’t pay teachers enough or respect them enough to make the profession one that most college graduates want to go into. Until we recognize and address this fact, we will continue to have teacher shortages.

 

Do you have a plan or approach to addressing the current SFUSD teacher shortage?

 

We don’t pay teachers enough to live in San Francisco, and working conditions in some of our most challenging schools are such that we experience too much turnover. We need to stabilize struggling staffs — so that principals in schools with large numbers of low-income students, students with disabilities, and English learners don’t spend all their time on the treadmill of onboarding first-year teachers and recruiting new teachers to fill the spots of the ones who can’t afford to stay or feel overwhelmed by the needs of their students. I want our principals to have time to serve as true instructional leaders, and I want our teachers to feel as if they are supported by their colleagues and working as a committed, solid team to serve their students. That can only come to pass if school staffing remains relatively consistent from year to year, as we see in schools with higher-performing middle class students.

Addressing compensation across the board and adding targeted increases to key recruitment areas (math, special education, bilingual teachers) will be a good start. We also need to address working conditions by addressing class size, continuing to provide solid professional development, and adding supports like nurses, coaches and social workers to support struggling student populations and new teachers.

 

Do you support existing charter public schools in San Francisco, and would you support new non-profit charter public schools in San Francisco? Why or why not?

 

I have voted for new charters when I believed that they met a need not currently being served in our schools (Five Keys, Life Learning Academy, Gateway MS, KIPP HS). I have also called out charter applications from groups that clearly were not adding something new to our portfolio of schools (New School of SF). In general I have had a very high bar for charter approvals and I am skeptical that most charters do any better than traditional public schools in educating students. I am livid over the state Board of Education’s proclivity for approving any and all charter applications regardless of the local district/county board’s perspective. The playing field is not level, and I wish our state representatives and our Governor were more willing to take on the charter school lobby.

 

Mark Sanchez

 

Are you currently a member of the Democratic Party? If so, for how long and how have you been actively involved in recent years?

 

Yes, I’m a member of the Democratic Party. 1981-2001; 2015-Present

 

Are you currently an elected member of the SFUSD Board of Education? If so, when were you first elected? Do you have a personal or professional connection to SFUSD?

 

I served on the SF Board of Education from 2001-2009

 

On what experience and criteria should the BoE focus when searching for a permanent replacement for Acting Superintendent Myong Leigh?

 

I headed up the search for Superintendent Carlos Garcia when I served as president of the SF Board of Education in 2007. I would be inclined to follow similar procedures for the national search that we used back then. We held a series of public meetings to determine what criteria our constituents (parents, students, educators, community groups like the PTA and non-profits) deemed most important in characteristics and traits for our new district leader. The process worked quite well, with the hiring of Mr. Garcia, who became a highly respected and quite popular superintendent.

 

Should non-citizens be allowed to vote in BoE elections? Yes or no, please explain why.

 

I’ve backed the last two measures that went to SF voters regarding this issue. I co-sponsored the SF Board of Education’s resolution of support for the ballot initiative, and I support the newer version. I support it because a disproportionate amount of our public school students in SF have parents who are not able to vote based on their status as non-citizens. Their voices ought to be recognized and counted to have a truly representative governing body.

 

Do you support the current BoE position regarding non-traditional teacher training and placement programs, like Teach for America (TFA)?

 

I support having TFA be held to the same standards that we hold for non-TFA teachers. They should not be asked to serve our students for two years; we don’t do that for non-TFA teachers. On the whole, though, the TFA teachers I have worked with have been just as if not more capable in their first years of teaching than non-TFA beginning teachers.

 

Do you have a plan or approach to addressing the current SFUSD teacher shortage?


This is the number one issue that we must confront, and we must confront it aggressively. We need to have what amounts to stipends or vouchers for housing and significant mortgage assistance. But we need to be bold when it comes to brick and mortar housing initiatives. As a city we may not currently have the collective will, but the board of education needs to work with city policy makers, unions and other stakeholders to draw up plans for at least 1,000 units for rental and perhaps a number for purchase. I appreciate what Santa Clara Unified School District has done. Ten years ago they used private funds to build 70 educator units on district property. The units are for educators in perpetuity, and rent for $1500 a month with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a garage.

 

Do you support existing charter public schools in San Francisco, and would you support new non-profit charter public schools in San Francisco? Why or why not?

 

Most of our charter schools are doing as well (or not as well) as non charters serving similar populations. That being said, I think we have enough charters at the moment and I am not looking to approve more of them in the near future. I taught at a charter school during the years I served on the SF Board of Education (2001-2009), so I understand some of the benefits of charters, but there is a spreading reckoning that charters are not the panacea to the shortcomings in our public school systems that many had hoped for.

 

Jill Wynns*

 

No questionnaire submitted for review

 

City College Board of Trustees

 

Amy Bacharach*

 

Are you currently a member of the Democratic Party? If so, for how long and how have you been actively involved in recent years?

 

Yes. My entire adult life. I am a proud graduate of Emerge California and have been an elected delegate to the California Democratic Party since 2011. This year, I was elected to be a Hillary delegate to the Democratic National Convention. I have been part of the finance council for Hillary since the “Ready for Hillary” campaign. I was a founding member of Vaccinate California and worked closely with Senators Pan and Allen to pass SB277, and I am currently working on legislation that will close the loophole in the Paid Family Leave Act that will allow public employees to be eligible. I am also a member of Assemblyman David Chiu’s Women’s Advisory Committee.

Locally, I have served on the Community College Board for the last two years. In my time in San Francisco, I have served on the San Francisco Women’s Political Committee as a policy advocate for issues dealing with girls and women. I was also on the board of the National Council of Jewish Women, which focuses on lobbying at the local and state level to combat human trafficking, prevent family violence, promote girls’ education, and advocate for restorative justice, and have served on the United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council, whose goal is to reduce poverty in the Bay Area by half by 2020. I also currently serve on the board of the Richmond District Neighborhood Center. I am informally involved in several women’s networking and mentoring organizations. In these capacities, I have raised money, phone banked, and walked countless precincts for local democratic candidates and local and state initiatives. I also registered voters and phone banked for Obama during the 2008 and 2012 campaigns and for Allyson Schwartz for PA governor, as well as for Hillary for the 2016 primary. In the past, I have phone banked to oppose initiatives for parental consent for abortions.

 

Are you currently an elected member of the CCSF Board of Trustees? If so, when were you first elected? Do you have a personal or professional connection to CCSF?

 

Yes, I first ran for CCSF Board in 2012 and lost by about 500 votes. I ran again in 2014 and won election. I have a personal connection to community colleges (I attended Philadelphia Community College). I am passionate about higher education as I am a living example of the opportunities that higher education can provide, having gone from high-school dropout to Ph.D. in less than 20 years. I have a unique perspective on the board due to my work in developing and analyzing policy, implementing evidence-based practices, and making hard decisions, as well as my work as an adjunct professor for many years, which brings a faculty perspective. I am a pragmatic, independent, strong, and unifying leader, which is exactly what City College needs right now. My vision is for the Board to move forward with strengthening the institution as a whole, making sure that the community’s needs are being met with high-quality education and training and that the college is on track for financial stability. The Board must also rebuild mutual trust with all of its stakeholders, including faculty and staff, students, the community, the state chancellor’s office, and even the accrediting agency.

 

Do you support the ballot measure parcel tax to raise revenue for CCSF?

 

Yes, and I am campaigning for it.

 

Do you have a plan or approach to addressing the financial stability of CCSF?

 

Financial stability is directly tied to enrollment. We must increase enrollment to become stable. When I ran last time, one of my goals was to make sure that City College has a seat at the table and is working closely with SFUSD. I am now the co-chair of a joint committee between CCSF and SFUSD. One of my goals is to work closely with SFUSD to bring as many HS students and graduates into CCSF as possible. In the past, HS students have comprised a small percentage of overall enrollment. I believe that we can significantly increase this percentage and boost enrollment. I also want to create new collaborative partnerships with industries and professions in the Bay Area to provide vocational and skills training for the people in those industries and professions. We’ve done a great job at supplying the majority of nurses and culinary staff in the Bay Area; I’d like to see that applied to many other sectors. We should also be providing the training and education for existing employers in SF, including the County of San Francisco! My primary goal for this next term continues to be starting an alumni association for the estimated 1 in 7 or 8 San Franciscans who have been touched by City College. This will create so many more opportunities for our students, from funding to mentorships to job opportunities. All of these things will address the financial stability of CCSF.

 

Do you support making CCSF free to all San Francisco students? What opportunities or challenges do you foresee if this measure is approved by voters?

 

I recently wrote an op-ed supporting Free City College. I am concerned that the funding measure to make this happen is not dedicated to City College specifically and would have to be approved every year for City College. However, I think that the goal of free city is a good one and I support it.

 

What led to the recent accreditation crisis and what steps will you take to ensure this doesn’t happen again?

 

Part of the problem was that 8 recommendations from the 2006 review were either ignored or not sufficiently addressed before the 2012 review. Another issue was how CCSF used shared governance. This is not a popular subject but is important to discuss as having a role in accountability. I believe in participatory governance, in which all stakeholders have a voice in a democratic process. However, the shared governance structure that was put into place over the last decade or so seemed to have placed decision-making power into many hands with no accountability. One of the key weaknesses of the college involved issues related to data and using outcome measures to determine the college’s needs and to drive decision making. Since this is what I do for a living, I am in a unique position on the board. Most of the recommendations dealt with governance and assessment, an area that I work in every day. Most of the recommendations that the accrediting agency made in 2012 have been addressed; however, it is integral for the elected board to prioritize oversight into these areas to make sure compliance is continued.

 

What is your position on the recent labor agreement?

 

I’m sad that we couldn’t increase salaries more than we did, but I’m glad that we reached agreements. I don’t think that it would have been as contentious and belabored if the board retained powers without a special trustee. It is our job to prioritize higher salaries for our dedicated faculty and staff while balancing our fiscal reality.

 

Rafael Mandelman*

 

Are you currently a member of the Democratic Party? If so, for how long and how have you been actively involved in recent years?

I registered as a Democrat when I turned 18 in 1991. I have served as an elected member of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee since 2006. I am proud of the role I played in directing our voter registration efforts between 2006 and 2008 and I am proud to have been able to support the efforts of the DCCC between 2008 and 2010 to build a local canvass to repeal Proposition 8. For 2010-12 term I chaired our Issues Committee, helping give voice to the concerns of San Francisco Democrats through the passage of resolutions on issues like worker rights, environmental protection, health care, and ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have also been a member of a number of Democratic Clubs and have been president of the Noe Valley, Harvey Milk and District 8 Progressive Democratic Clubs. In addition to helping build and lead local Democratic Clubs, I have served on the State Party’s Resolutions Committee. And of course, I have worked to elect great Democratic candidates at every level of government.

 

Are you currently an elected member of the CCSF Board of Trustees? If so, when were you first elected? Do you have a personal or professional connection to CCSF?


I first ran and was elected to the City College Board of Trustees in 2012, as City College was struggling with serious financial and accreditation challenges. Within six months of my joining the Board in January 2013, the ACCJC announced it would be terminating City College’s accreditation and shutting the institution down by July 2014. Following on that announcement the State Chancellor suspended the locally elected Board and replaced us with an appointed Special Trustee. Over the next year and a half, I worked tirelessly to reverse the ACCJC’s termination decision, traveling across the State to explain our fight at other community colleges, working closely with the City Attorney’s office to strengthen their case against the ACCJC, and lobbying local, State and Federal elected officials to build support for City College and for accreditation reform. Since the State Chancellor began restoring the Board in late 2014, I believe that my leadership has helped hold the Board together and prove that locally elected leadership can govern the college responsibly and effectively. I am proud of the work I have done to save City College, restore local control and help the College begin to recover from the accreditation crisis.


Do you support the ballot measure parcel tax to raise revenue for CCSF?

 

I do support the parcel tax measure to help ensure that the College can count on parcel tax revenue for at least the next fifteen years and to provide a new source of revenues for raises that the College could not otherwise afford. I am proud to have led the Board in exploring the feasibility of putting this measure on the ballot this year, and, when polling showed that the voters were likely to vote for it in November, pushing forward to add the measure to the ballot.

Do you have a plan or approach to addressing the financial stability of CCSF?

  1. Maintain our accreditation through the current evaluation process.
  2. Pass the parcel tax.
  3. Gradually implement class schedule reductions to bring schedule in line with enrollment.
  4. Aggressively pursue enrollment growth over the next five years to take advantage of special Leno/Ting legislation allowing State funding for recovery of lost enrollment during that time and to allow the College to avoid full implementation of schedule reductions. Strategies to achieve enrollment growth will include aggressive pursuit of new partnerships with the Unified School District and the City and development and implementation of Police Academy curriculum, as well as a compressed calendar. It will also require significant improvements to our online registration process (currently in process) and aggressive new marketing efforts.

 

Do you support making CCSF free to all San Francisco students? What opportunities or challenges do you foresee if this measure is approved by voters?

 

I certainly do, both because I think community college should be free and because it offers an opportunity to increase the College’s enrollment when the College urgently needs any new enrollment it can get. The measure before the voters does not actually establish a free City College plan, but it would provide funding the Board of Supervisors has indicated it intends to use to fund Free City College. Going forward, challenges may include developing a plan that can be implemented by the College, assuring stable funding over time and assuring that the City’s plan does not create new costs for the College at a time when the College is already experiencing significant financial uncertainty.

 

What led to the recent accreditation crisis and what steps will you take to ensure this doesn’t happen again?

 

I believe that many of the ACCJC’s conclusions in 2012 and 2013 about weakness in the College’s administration, fiscal situation and governance were valid and needed to be addressed. Where the ACCJC failed, in my view, was in concluding that these areas of weakness could justify shutting down a public educational institution that was doing so much important work for its students and the broader community. City College needed reform in 2012 and 2013; it did not need and has not benefitted from having its very existence threatened. Since that time the College has been great progress in bringing its administrative and governance processes, as well as its finances, in line with best practices and legal requirements. Going forward, I am committed to supporting our administrators in ensuring that City College continues to comply with legal requirements and best practices, while still continuing to meet the unique and diverse needs of San Francisco’s communities.

What is your position on the recent labor agreement?

I support our recent agreements with AFT 2121 and SEIU 1021. The agreement with AFT 2121 was particularly difficult to negotiate, largely because of the profound lack of trust between the College’s administration and the union, but also because of the real financial challenges facing the College. In the end, however, I believe we were able to arrive at an agreement that will provide faculty with their first significant raises in nearly a decade will still ensuring the long term financial sustainability of the College.

 

Alex Randolph*

 

Are you currently a member of the Democratic Party? If so, for how long and how have you been actively involved in recent years?

I have been involved in politics all of my life and proudly registered to vote Democratic as soon as I turned 18. As a 10 year Board Member of the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, I have worked hard to register voters, fundraised for the Democratic Party, and campaigned for and supported Democrats running for office across California and the country. In the past I was an active member of the UC Berkeley Cal Democrats and California College Democrats. As a young college dem I volunteered and helped in GOTV efforts for the Howard Dean campaign in Nevada and Northern California.

Since my time as a college student at UC Berkeley in 2004 I have attended almost every California Democratic Party Convention as a CYD Delegate, additionally, it has been a tremendous privilege to represent San Francisco as one of Senator Mark Leno’s Delegates to the annual State Convention. Although my current race is non-partisan, I am running as a proud life-long Democrat. I also believe in supporting the next generation of Democrats through mentorship and sponsoring College Democrats to attend Democratic Conventions. My time and experience supporting and working alongside other young Democrats has greatly shaped my passion for being active in politics and advocating for issues important to my community. I am proud to be one of the few Young Democrats currently holding public office in San Francisco.

Are you currently an elected member of the CCSF Board of Trustees? If so, when were you first elected? Do you have a personal or professional connection to CCSF?

Community College changed my life. I wouldn’t be here today as a Trustee without my start at Grossmont Community College in San Diego that offered me a way up and a start in higher education. I was born and raised in Germany by a single mom and did not move to the United States until I was 16. My working-class parents never had the chance to get a college education. Consequently, getting a college degree was always very important in my family and I feared that I would not be able to afford going to college either.

June 4th, 2003 is a date I will never forget, the day of my community college graduation when I knew that going to college was the right thing for me to do and that I was able to succeed. Since then, I was able to transfer to UC Berkeley, where I graduated with a bachelor degree in political science and public policy in 2006. After moving to San Francisco, I graduated from San Francisco State with a Master’s of Public Administration in 2012. As a proud product of California’s public education system, I experienced first-hand the sheer power of education. I feel so privileged to serve CCSF and the City of San Francisco as a Trustee since November 2015.

It gives me great pleasure to see every day numerous examples of what investing in people can do and achieve. There is no greater equalizer in our society that than education. Over the past year as a Trustee I have focused a great deal of my attention to supporting and reaching out to traditionally underserved students in High School, Middle School, and currently enrolled at City College.

I was very proud to be able to co-host the first African-American and Students of Color Welcome Reception at CCSF last fall. The reception aimed to connect the incoming students to current students, alumni, and student resources offered on campus to make sure they are successful and live up to their full potential.

I am running for re-election to the SF Community College Board because as a product of the California Community College system, I know how important this institution is for many who need access to affordable quality education. I also understand the issues that many students face and have been working hard over the past year as a Trustee to ensure that City College stays accredited, accessible, and affordable. I want to make sure that my set of skills and abilities are put to use in service of the betterment of City College and to make sure that San Franciscans are afforded the same opportunities that I was.

 

I am honored that all of my colleagues on the Board of Trustees have endorsed me for my re-election this time around and I would be honored to receive the support of the United Democratic Club as well. This has been the job of a lifetime and I am so honored to be part of this incredible community. It has been a privilege to serve you over the past year. A thriving San Francisco doesn’t exist without City College. I am looking forward to working with all of you to ensure that CCSF continues to be a place of hope and opportunity for all San Franciscans.

Do you support the ballot measure parcel tax to raise revenue for CCSF?

STRONG YES!!! I am proud to be one of the strongest supporters on the Board to have voted to place the renewal on this November’s ballot. The additional funding and long-term stability generated by the parcel tax extension is critical to City College’s future. In addition to campaigning for re-election, I am also pushing for various organizations and clubs to support Proposition B this November. I hope that the United Democratic Club will join me and vote yes on the parcel tax!

Do you have a plan or approach to addressing the financial stability of CCSF?

It has been an incredible privilege to see first-hand that one of the characteristics that has made CCSF such a special institution for the past 80 years is that true “community” college model we have here locally. The diverse set of classes and studies play an important role. In order to prevent cuts it is critical to ensure stable financial footing. The accreditation crisis has been a disaster to our enrollment and budget. As we receive state funding for literally every student enrolled at CCSF it is critical to grow back our student body asap. As a member of the joint SFUSD-CCSF Committee I am strengthening our partnership around co-enrollment, building partnerships with other agencies to get more city workers enrolled. Finally, I think the Free City College Initiative will further promote CCSF and grow our enrollment. We also need to make registration process easier and more user-friendly. Additionally I have been an enthusiastic advocate for the new parcel tax on the ballot and I am proud to be one of the strongest supporters on the Board to have voted to place the renewal of the parcel tax on this November’s ballot. The additional funding and long-term stability generated by the parcel tax extension is critical to City College’s future.

Do you support making CCSF free to all San Francisco students? What opportunities or challenges do you foresee if this measure is approved by voters?

I absolutely support the proposal to implement free tuition at City College. I have been an enthusiastic advocate on behalf of this proposal since the beginning. In fact the Board of Trustees has just recently unanimously passed a resolution that I co-authored to support the free City College initiative. I have also been working with Supervisor Kim, AFT2121, my fellow Trustees, and other elected officials to make sure that voters approve the real estate transfer tax on the ballot this November. As someone who benefitted from a free community college education due to financial aid and fee waivers, I know first hand how important affordable access to education is to change someone’s life for the better.

Unfortunately, education has additional costs associated with it than just education and the Free City College proposal will provide critical stipends of up to $1,000 to assist our students with their textbook, transportation and other costs. I hope the United Democratic Club will support this initiative and help San Francisco be a leader when it comes to funding public education.

Since the real estate transfer tax is not dedicated but rather going into the general fund, it is up to the Board of Supervisors, as part of the annual budget process, to allocate at least $13 million to this program. We as a community and voters need to make sure that the Board continues to uphold their commitment to City College and the voters if approved.

 

What led to the recent accreditation crisis and what steps will you take to ensure this doesn’t happen again?

Despite what some members of the public unfortunately think, City College is currently accredited and in its final year of “restoration status”. This status has never occurred before, and is something new that was created after the City Attorney’s lawsuit. One of the requirements of restoration requires us as an institution to create and submit a Comprehensive Self Evaluation Report, including addressing 32 specific areas of “continuing noncompliance”, to the Accrediting Commission on Community and Junior Colleges (ACCKJC). I am very proud that the Board has voted to approve the self-evaluation at our study session on July 14th. An external review by the visiting team will take place the week of October 10th. If the External Review finds that we meet or exceed all these requirements then we will be moved from “restoration status” to “reaffirmation of accreditation. I am very proud that the quality of education, our primary mission was never in question and was praised. As Trustee I have been working hard to give our Chancellor Susan Lamb, administrators, faculty, classified staff, and students the tools and resources to be able to improve the areas City College needs to improve, from the Board’s various training around accreditation, briefings on the progress made, and the preparation for the visiting team’s visit this October keeping our accreditation has been one of my top priorities. The City College community has done an incredible job already addressing some of the concerns and also pushing back where the commission’s accreditation report went too far.

What is your position on the recent labor agreement?

I am very relieved and happy that the District and AFT2121 have reached a tentative agreement. It shouldn’t have taken this long and this is one reason why local control of elected Trustees is so critical. Paying our faculty fairly and investing in public education is not only our responsibility as a society but also makes good business sense. This agreement was an important compromise that allowed us to give the faculty a critical raise, while at the same time being fiscally responsible with the District’s budget. Part of the raise is tied to the additional revenue the extension of the parcel tax (Prop B) would provide to City College if approved this November.

In order for us to continue to retain and recruit not only high quality faculty but also our classified staff, we need to pay a salary that allows them to stay and work in San Francisco. In addition to their compensation, I also pushed for dedicated faculty and staff housing in the planned Balboa Reservoir project, as well as our own planned housing projects at 33 Gough and 750 Eddie Street.

Tom Temprano

Are you currently a member of the Democratic Party? If so, for how long and how have you been actively involved in recent years?

 

I’ve been a proud registered Democrat since 2004.

 

While serving as the President of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, one of the city’s largest Democratic Clubs, I worked to engage LGBT people in the democratic party process in San Francisco. We proudly registered many democrats to vote during my two years as President. I was happy to work with the DCCC to pilot the party’s streamlined endorsement process.

 

As a small business owner and nightlife promoter, I’ve used both my own business – Virgil’s Sea Room – and my involvement in San Francisco nightlife to introduce young people to democratic party politics. At both Virgil’s and my event, Hard French, we regularly host voter registration drives targeting young bar and event goers. We also host fundraisers for a number of democratic clubs and political organizations.

 

Are you currently an elected member of the CCSF Board of Trustees? If so, when were you first elected? Do you have a personal or professional connection to CCSF?

 

I am not currently an elected member of the CCSF Board. This is my second year running. Last year, I decided to join this race because I felt that in the wake of the accreditation crisis and the resultant enrollment crisis facing City College, the college was in serious need of new leadership. I learned a lot running for the City College Board last year, and the support of community members inspired me to run again this year. We’re facing many tough challenges, including a 30% drop in enrollment. I believe that in order to meet these challenges and foster real, sustainable progress, the college needs leadership that is enthusiastic and excited about its future. As trustee, I will use my decade-long experience in community organizing and grassroots marketing to get out into the community and get San Francisco excited about City College again!

 

I was educated in public schools in my hometown of Ventura. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for community college. When I was 16 years old, I got sick and had to drop out of high school. Fortunately, I was able to enroll in community college classes and I got back on track and rejoined my high school class. Thanks to the safety net that community college provided me, I was able to finish high school and enroll in San Francisco State University, which I graduated from in 2009. I have enrolled in Photoshop and Conversational Spanish classes at City College over the last two semesters. It is my belief that every Trustee should do their personal part to address our enrollment crisis by taking classes at the college.

 

Do you support the ballot measure parcel tax to raise revenue for CCSF?

 

As President of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and a former community college student, I actively campaigned for the Parcel Tax since Prop A in 2012, including hosting fundraisers for the campaign with fellow community and labor leaders. I will continue to support future bonds and parcel taxes, including this year’s parcel tax extension, to fund City College and as a member of the Board of Trustees will proudly campaign as the public face of such measures.

 

Prop A was passed by San Francisco voters to help keep our college open and classes from being cut. That the ACCJC and Special Trustee were able to misuse those funds is one of the biggest tragedies of our manufactured accreditation crisis. As Trustee I will demand that the Citizen’s Oversight Committee and meet regularly. We need to strong, and transparent public oversight to ensure that these funds are going toward our teachers and students – not middle management and unnecessary reserves.

 

Do you have a plan or approach to addressing the financial stability of CCSF?

 

The first, and simplest thing that we must do is address our enrollment crisis and fight back

against plans to cut 26% of our classes. The last thing that we should be doing at a time when we need increased enrollment is cutting the classes that our students want and need. Rebuilding City College’s relationship with SFUSD will be one of my biggest priorities as Trustee, and it is critical to solving our enrollment crisis. It is unacceptable that each year 1,000 SFUSD graduates do not go on to a 4-year or Community College. City College should be present on SFUSD campuses, enrolling students before they graduate and looking for new opportunities to encourage concurrent enrollment. Additionally, City College needs to be proactively engaging our city workers to enroll them in ongoing education and training at City College.

 

My top priorities as City College Board of Trustees will be to:

 

Create a common sense budget. I will cut spending on high priced consultants and bloated salaries for middle management, and invest the savings to prevent necessary classes from being cut and provide a living wage to our workers and faculty.

 

Get San Francisco students into City College. I will focus on rebuilding the relationship between San Francisco Unified School District and City College to build an enrollment bridge for students.

 

Restore Confidence in City College. I will use my experience to create a vigorous community outreach campaign to undo the damage the accreditation crisis has done to student enrollment.

 

Do you support making CCSF free to all San Francisco students? What opportunities or challenges do you foresee if this measure is approved by voters?

 

I am absolutely thrilled to be supporting Free City! It frustrates me to hear the administration

and members of the Board of Trustees seemingly accept that we will never be able to recover our enrollment. Free City is exactly the type of positive, proactive approach to increasing our enrollment that the City and the College should be taking.

 

It was especially exciting for me to be able to make the motion for the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club to become the first community organization to sign on as an endorser of Free City.

 

As I’ve been out campaigning and speaking to the community, I’ve been actively spreading the word and encouraging people to support Free City. I will be doing this throughout my campaign.

 

What led to the recent accreditation crisis and what steps will you take to ensure this doesn’t happen again?

 

While some issues cited by the ACCJC like an inequitable distribution of student support resources, merited correction the attack on CCSF’s accreditation was politically motivated and manufactured by the accreditor. The Board of Trustees still needs to remain focused on moving through restoration status and addressing the remaining areas of non-compliance. Thanks to the ACCJC’s attack, City College is now also dealing with a very real enrollment crisis. It is important that we not lose sight of this crisis as the College is heading toward an enrollment cliff in 2017 which will have very serious funding repercussions. Leading the school through our enrollment crisis would be my top priority as trustee.

 

What is your position on the recent labor agreement?

 

As the son of a public school teacher, I am a firm believer in the need to provide our faculty with fair contracts. It is unacceptable in the city with the highest cost of living in the country that our faculty’s salaries were at the bottom of those at all Bay Area community colleges. I’m supportive of the recent agreement between the faculty and the college as it has begun to restore the wage cuts that faculty endured in 2008 at the height of the Great Recession and brings faculty salaries closer to the region’s median. Offering competitive salaries and benefits to our faculty is the only way for us to retain and recruit the top-tier faculty our students deserve.

 

Shanell Williams

Are you currently a member of the Democratic Party? If so, for how long and how have you been actively involved in recent years?

I’ve been a registered Democrat for 14 years. I am currently a member of numerous Democratic Clubs in San Francisco including San Francisco Young Democrats, San Francisco Black Young Dems, District 5 Democratic Club, Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, San Francisco Latino Democratic Club, and others. I have assisted with voter registration drives and voter education. In addition to voter engagement, I have sponsored events for the local party and have organized for Democratic local, state and national candidates during elections. I’ve attended the California Democratic Convention, representing young Democrats of color. I’ve also advocated alongside local, state and national Democratic leaders like Mark Leno, Phil Ting, David Chiu, Tom Ammiano, Nancy Pelosi, Jackie Speier, Anna Eshoo, and Jim Beall to protect City College from loss of accreditation and closure. I believe that work I have done to preserve City College is a major win for the Democratic party. Education is the cornerstone of democracy and I’ve worked hard to ensure hundreds of thousands of San Franciscans have access to higher education through an accredited City College.

Are you currently an elected member of the CCSF Board of Trustees? If so, when were you first elected? Do you have a personal or professional connection to CCSF?

I am not currently an elected member of the CCSF Board, however I did serve as Student Trustee for two terms (June 2013-June 2015). My relationship with CCSF is deeply personal– I am a proud graduate of CCSF and have spent the past four years dedicated to the fight to Save City College from loss of accreditation and closure. I served as Associated Students President for a term before serving as Student Trustee for two terms. In these roles I helped to mobilize thousands of San Franciscans to save the college and highlighted the communities that need City College the most. I want to continue to protect City College offerings and programs for all students but especially want to improve quality of life for low-­income, and working class people, LGBTQ people, our seniors, the homeless, immigrants, foster youth, people involved in the system, and first generation college students. I fought hard to save the City College that welcomes all of these communities not closes the door on opportunity for them.

Do you support the ballot measure parcel tax to raise revenue for CCSF?

Yes.

Do you have a plan or approach to addressing the financial stability of CCSF?

First, there must be independent oversight of the bond funding at City College. There was not a Bond Oversight Committee in place for Proposition A for the past four years at the college. The Performing Arts Education Center that was also approved by voters has yet to be developed. Increased and independent oversight is essential to making sure these ballot measures are not just empty promises.

Second, the College needs to stop its heavy reliance on cuts to balance the budget. During the accreditation crisis, the City College administration and the Special Trustee heavily relied on cuts to workers, classes and services to fix the loss of revenue from the drop in enrollment. We need to build City College up, not break it down. As a Board Member, I will ensure we have the services we need and the systems in place so that students can effectively and efficiently enroll and stay in their classes. Enrollment brings more funding to the college and with the “super growth bill” the College is sanctioned to increase the enrollment rate by a larger amount year by year. Diversity classes are especially important for students from disadvantaged backgrounds to stay engaged in their college course work.

Do you support making CCSF free to all San Francisco students? What opportunities or challenges do you foresee if this measure is approved by voters?

I support the Free City proposal because it will help to improve enrollment at City College and bring students back who have been impacted by the payment policy. Free City gives San Franciscans an incentive to enroll, it restores faith in the institution and ensures students will have access to education no matter their socio­economic status. I am fully committed to ensuring this passes, I feel it is critical to restoring our college.

What led to the recent accreditation crisis and what steps will you take to ensure this doesn’t happen again?

On of my first priorities is to preserve accreditation for City College by any means necessary. The Accrediting Commission for Junior and Community was found by the Superior Court of California to have taken illegal actions while evaluating City College. In addition, the leadership of the ACCJC was found to have conflicts of interest. The injunction placed on the ACCJC to stop them from removing City College accreditation requires they return to reevaluate the college in a legal manner. This doesn’t mean the ACCJC will not still vote to close the college. If this happens, as a Trustee on the Board, I will ensure we take swift legal action against the ACCJC and any other contributing party to this unfair decision. I will also mobilize elected officials and community college stakeholders to fight back, as we’ve done in the past.

What is your position on the recent labor agreement?

I am in support of the tentative agreement and hope to see it ratified. I think that City College faculty have made tremendous sacrifices, and have shouldered significant burdens and exploitation with the accreditation crisis. It is imperative the Board of Trustees be responsible for holding the administration accountable for budget discrepancies and fair negotiations with all City College workers.

BART Board of Directors

Seat 7

No Questionnaires submitted for review

Seat 9

Bevan Dufty

Are you currently a member of the Democratic Party? If so, for how long, and please describe recent party activities.

I’ve been a Democrat my entire life. I volunteered on LBJ’s campaign in NYC 1964 and got to go to the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City and see Fannie Lou Hamer fight to unseat the all-White Mississippi delegation. I have worked for incredible Democratic leaders, including Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, Congressman Julian Dixon and Mayor Willie Brown, among others.

I have served on the Democratic County Central Committee since 2012 and was re-elected this year

 

Are you currently an elected member of the BART board? If so, for how long, and please discuss your past priorities and what you’ve achieved.

As a Supervisor, I worked with the late Congressman Tom Lantos to secure a $4.4 m federal earmark for pedestrian accessibility and other improvements at the Glen Park BART Station. In 1994, I helped my Boss, Supervisor Susan Leal secure federal transportation funds to replace streetlights on Mission Street between 16th-24th Street to improve safety for pedestrians accessing BART.

I intend to develop a plan for each of the Stations in BART D9 (Powell Street, Civic Center, 16th Street, 24th Street, Glen Park and Balboa Park (partial); these plans will focus on Station experience, helping homeless individuals who have been relegated to living in Stations, Muni connections and pedestrian safety and disabled access, among others.

 

Do you support re-opening BART station bathrooms? Why or why not?

100% yes. I was a big supporter of the Pit Stop program led by Public Works, my office of HOPE and Supervisor Jane Kim which staffed existing JCDecaux public restrooms and brought portables to the TL, SOMA and 16th Street BART Plaza.

I’m told that there is going to be a trial early next year opening restrooms at Powell Street and a downtown Oakland Station. I will follow this closely as staffed restrooms meet a very basic human need with dignity and respect.

 

Do you support increasing BART station retail offerings?

Yes. Activating our Stations is very positive, generates revenue and improves safety.

 

What can be done to ensure future deliveries of new BART cars are not delayed, as was the case for the first round, which was reported earlier this month?

I spent 14 years working on mass transit, on Capitol Hill working for Congressman Dixon on authorization and appropriations to build the LA Metro system, starting in 1979 and then working for the LA Metro agency. I have had experience with every function that BART performs, including railcar procurement. As you know, being active and engaged with vendors helps to keep your procurement a top priority. I will do this as someone who has the stature as an elected official and a long-time transit leader from my early days to my work as a Supervisor and leader of the SF County Transportation Authority.

 

If the BART Safety, Reliability and Traffic Relief bond does NOT pass in November, what will the next steps be to fix the well documented problems with the system the bond was meant to address?

A BART official reminded me that the first BART Seismic Bond failed. I believe our measure will pass because people can see the incredible need for reinvestment to keep the infrastructure from crumbling. If we need a Plan B, it will involve seeking a big part of Hillary Clinton’s proposed infrastructure investment program.

Do you support a second Transbay tube? Please explain your answer.

Yes, we need to expand capacity. This will undoubtedly be a longer process but it is a key project.

 

Other than bonds and fare increases, by what methods can BART raise additional money to pay for maintenance backlogs, future service improvements, staff increases, and other unforeseen expenses?

More and more jurisdictions are enacting sales tax measures to support transit and we need to be pro-active to ensure that we are part of expenditure plans. For a decade I secured federal funds for transit and am excited to do this work as a BART Director.

We own a great deal of property and I want to see great transit oriented development that includes affordable housing, which can also generate revenues.

Paying for transit services, like paying for health care, is a larger policy debate than the BART system itself. We need to looks at ways to fund operations without expecting so much of the burden to be shouldered by the fares paid by transit riders, who often are leaving their cars at home and making a larger contribution to society. I will be a BART Director who can help to shape this discussion, including carbon taxes, at the regional and national level.

 

Michael Petrelis – No Questionnaire submitted for review

 

Gwyneth Borden

Are you currently a member of the Democratic Party?

If so, for how long, and please describe recent party activities. I’ve been a Democrat since I registered to vote (25 years); identifying as a Democrat my whole life. I have donated and hosted fundraisers for dozens of Democratic candidates and have volunteered on campaigns throughout my life.

Are you currently an elected member of the BART board? If so, for how long, and please discuss your past priorities and what you’ve achieved.

No

Do you support re-opening BART station bathrooms? Why or why not?

Yes. There are sometimes long wait times between trains, delays, etc., so stations should have operable bathrooms available to the public. Bathrooms are in stations and it’s unacceptable to lock them instead of investing in the necessary maintenance and security safeguards to have them open. I realize that they were originally closed due to terrorist concerns, but considering how far we have come over the last 15 years in terrorist safeguards, and with adding cameras, it’s least of the credible concerns. Unfortunately, the BART stairs and escalators have become the defacto restrooms, which means the escalators are often broken, which is costly to fix. It also has made the experience entering a BART station unpleasant, with the overwhelming urine smell. Finally, while I don’t want the bathrooms to become havens for drug activity, I’d rather have a homeless person shooting up inside one than on our streets, as they currently do.

Do you support increasing BART station retail offerings?

Yes, greater retail options could improve the BART station experience, deter those who sit and lie on the floor in the station from doing so and generate much needed revenue towards the bottom line.

What can be done to ensure future deliveries of new BART cars are not delayed, as was the case for the first round, which was reported earlier this month?

I think BART needs to set specific deadlines with a financial disincentive for non-delivery. I don’t know enough about the situation to gauge whether the remedy is easy and be satisfactory for the long term, but engaging a team of outside experts to evaluate the situation may be necessary.

If the BART Safety, Reliability and Traffic Relief bond does NOT pass in November, what will the next steps be to fix the well-documented problems with the system the bond was meant to address? As I understand it, BART doesn’t have a plan B. Some needs can be addressed through fare increases and seeking state and federal funds, but ultimately BART would need to go back to its Asset Management Program to further prioritize improvements, figure out areas where it could cut and some improvements would have to wait for many years. As it is, there is a $9.6 billion overall need, but the bond is only seeking $3.5 billion.

Do you support a second Transbay tube?

Please explain your answer. Yes, we need to begin planning now to make this a reality. The fact that BART is a single track system is problematic, which means when anything goes wrong on the tracks, the system comes to a standstill. And even with new trains that let us increase ridership capacity and better control systems, the stress in the transbay tube won’t be remedied. The current transbay tube is in need of more work than the few hours a day/week we can contribute toward its maintenance. A second tube is crucial in being able to carry more passengers, increase reliability, and have a BART that can run longer hours, to address the issue of transporting those workers who don’t work traditional commute hours.

Other than bonds and fare increases, by what methods can BART raise additional money to pay for maintenance backlogs, future service improvements, staff increases, and other unforeseen expenses? There are some state Cap and Trade funds and some federal funds, which are getting harder to come by and typically not useful for operational needs.