Tag Archives: election

High time for an update

Hello everyone. It’s been quite a week. Though I am stunned, sad and fearful in the wake of the national election results, I am choosing to focus on gratitude.

In thinking back on all of the incredible support I received over this election season, I am so humbled and so grateful. I care deeply about San Francisco public schools and our students, and doing this work is a labor of love. To my supporters, thank you for recognizing this commitment, and for the gifts of time and money and encouragement that you gave during this campaign. I am beyond grateful, and honored to have been re-elected for a third term.

Thank you to those who have done so much, and will be moving on.
Sandra Fewer was apparently elected District 1 Supervisor and will be leaving the Board in January. Since we joined the Board together in 2008, Sandra has made the ongoing gap in achievement between African American, Latino and Pacific Islander students and their White and Asian counterparts a central focus to our work. I am grateful to Sandra for all her hard work and partnership over the years.

Jill Wynns, the longest-serving Board member in SFUSD history, was not re-elected. I am sad to see Jill’s long and productive career as an SFUSD Board member (six terms, or 24 years) end this way. I am grateful to her for her long service and dedication to the students of SFUSD; she taught me a great deal as we served together over the past eight years.

The future can be bright, if we remember our values. I am so proud of the thousands of high school students who peacefully demonstrated to the world that we in San Francisco stand for more than fear and hatred. I would also like to congratulate new and returning colleagues Matt Haney, Mark Sanchez and Stevon Cook, and offer each of them my support and friendship. Recently, Interim Superintendent Myong Leigh posted a graphic of our SFUSD core values and shared that he draws strength from them. I was so inspired and grateful for the reminder, and I think our values will resonate with a larger audience.


I am committed to these values and I choose to move forward during a difficult and challenging time. I invite you to join me.

Meeting recap
At tonight’s Board meeting we heard an overview of the district’s accountability metrics, including achievement, social-emotional learning, and school climate. There are some things to celebrate–suspensions are down and some schools have created conditions where all students are thriving. There are also the bleak, bleak realities that we continue to have a persistent racial achievement gap and it is bigger and deeper in San Francisco than in other CORE districts (the consortium of school districts that received a waiver from No Child Left Behind a few years ago). Tonight I asked staff to tell us what are the most impactful investments we are making to finally close this gap, because it seems so hard to move the needle for the district as a whole. Deputy Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero answered that ending teacher instability in high-poverty schools serving students of color, and ensuring that robust “wrap-around services” (social workers, nurses, intervention teachers and coaches) are available in these schools were among the most important investments we can make.


Good news all around!

There are still lots of votes to count, but it looks very much as if the three incumbents (Fewer, Norton and Wynns) were re-elected along with newcomer Matt Haney (you can learn more about Matt here — he will be a great advocate for our students and a great addition to the Board!). Congratulations to the winners and my sincere thanks and admiration to all of the candidates who worked so hard and contributed to the substantive dialogue in this year’s Board election.

In addition, Prop. 30 appears to have passed! If confirmed, its passage will prevent mid-year cuts and a loss of additional instructional days. This afternoon, the Superintendent sent out the following message:

Dear SFUSD Colleagues:

While the voters of California narrowly approved Prop 30, the voters of San Francisco approved it by an overwhelming majority. I am incredibly grateful to my fellow San Franciscans for committing to our public schools.

Some of you may be wondering what Prop 30 passing means for our schools.  This proposition temporarily collects new taxes to maintain state contributions to K-12 education at the same level as 2011-12. The real outcome of Prop 30 is to stop further cuts to schools. The good news is that as a result of Prop 30 passing we do not anticipate any mid-year cuts.

Our collective challenge remains that, even with Prop 30, the baseline K-12 resources from our state remain underfunded by 22% or about $1,500 per student based on the Prop 98 guarantee and cost of living adjustments the state has failed to provide for years.  We still have to maintain cuts in the current year’s budget, including furloughs for employees for up to two days and the school year will still be shortened by one half-day for our students (the last day of school).

The take-away: We need to keep advocating for more adequate funding for our schools AND today’s election results are a small, but significant step in the right direction.

I am thrilled that we have a bit of breathing room on the budget, and honored to have another four years to serve on this Board. There is a lot more work to do!

How I’m voting today

As a reminder, here’s how I’ve decided to vote on the six Propositions on the ballot for today’s Special Election:

  • 1A (Cuts spending and establishes a Rainy Day fund): NO – this is no way to make good public policy (update: if you don’t believe me, believe Sweet Melissa, she knows!);
  • 1B (Repays school districts later for budget cuts now): YES – 1B does not take effect without 1A, so this is a protest vote that will have no practical effect but feels good;
  • 1C (Restructures the state lottery): NO – I am OK with borrowing against future lottery revenues but don’t like that the proceeds go in the general fund instead of funding education;
  • 1D (Cuts in services for children age 5 and younger): NO;
  • 1E (Cuts in mental health services funding): NO;
  • 1F (Prevents pay increases for legislators): NO – this is a basically meaningless measure (CFT calls it “faux populist”) that is just there to make people feel good by sticking it to the Legislature, but hey–support it if it makes you feel better.

Are we supposed to vote or something?

“Were we supposed to vote on some propositions or something?”  reads the email from my husband. I am in Sacramento this weekend to attend the California School Boards Association‘s Legislative Action Conference, so he must have heard something about an election on the news and wondered whether we missed it.

Nope, we haven’t missed it, hon — but you’re forgiven for not being sure. Most people don’t seem to be paying much attention to Tuesday’s Special Election, and the few that are seem to be pretty negative on the whole thing; pollsters say most of the measures will fail.  But the Democratic Party, the California Teachers Association and most of our local legislators are either supporting or neutral on the six measures on the ballot, which are supposed to give the state flexibility to maneuver during the ongoing budget crisis. The state’s other teachers’ union, the smaller California Federation of Teachers, is opposing all of the measures except 1B.

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