Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Editorial: Haney for SF school board


School board candidate Matt Haney
(Photo: Courtesy Haney campaign)
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There are four seats up for a vote on the San Francisco Unified School District board next month.

Among the non-incumbents running, Matt Haney stands out and we recommend him for election. Haney has direct experience in San Francisco schools, having served on the district's Public Education Enrichment Fund Community Advisory Committee. He also co-founded Citizen Hope, a community service organization that has linked dollars and volunteers with the city's schools. As the executive director of the UC Student Association, he works directly for the over 200,000 students in the UC system, managing a budget of over half a million dollars and staffers.

Haney believes that addressing the district's funding challenges is a priority, including the reauthorization of Prop H (public education enrichment fund) and building coalitions in the city and statewide to secure revenue streams from the state to fund public education. His other vision for the district is to ensure college/career readiness for all students by closing the achievement gap with real world learning skills and curriculum.

Haney – and the other candidates we are endorsing in this race – supports the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act and has some good ideas for widening lesson plans by drawing on curriculum from the Museum of Tolerance, where he used to be an educator.

In short, Haney is a qualified candidate who can bring much to the city's public schools.


Sandra Fewer, Rachel Norton, and Jill Wynns

Unlike our recent recommendations for City College board, for which we did not endorse any of the incumbents, the three women running for re-election to the school board deserve your vote. The school district is not in chaos like City College and some of that credit belongs to the board and its leadership.

Incumbents Sandra Fewer, Rachel Norton, and Jill Wynns all have the knowledge and experience to continue serving on the board.

Fewer pointed to the fact that the district is implementing a two-year budget "that has helped us keep financially stable." But she correctly noted that the district will face huge challenges if voters don't pass state Proposition 30, Governor Jerry Brown's tax plan.

In terms of LGBT students, Fewer said she would propose an anti-bullying measure to train teachers and school staff on acceptable behavior, since one of the recurring problems seems to be that adults do not intervene when there is harassment or bullying.

Norton pointed out that city voters have been very generous with their support of public schools and that Prop H needs to be reauthorized. But she said that until state funding is adequate local efforts are mere Band-Aids. Norton also said that the district's committed LGBT support staff person is only funded part-time for this work and she would like to see the position funded at full-time as soon as the budget gap eases.

Wynns, one of the longest-serving board members, has a deep understanding of the district and has expertise in school finance and other policy areas. She is also president of the California School Boards Association, where she can influence policy development. She praised the new superintendent, Richard Carranza, for making student engagement a priority this year and for using the documentary Bully as a training tool for administrators and teachers.

These four candidates – Haney, Fewer, Norton, and Wynns – are all well qualified and have students' best interest in mind. It's not easy running a school district in this time of diminished state funding and tough decisions sometimes need to be made. These candidates are up to that task.

To view the complete list of B.A.R. endorsements, click here:

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