CCSF board race heats up ahead of accreditation review

Four seats on the Board of Trustees at City College of San Francisco are up for grabs this November, just months before the college’s accreditor will decide whether the institution remains open.

Five candidates have thrown their hats into the ring, including incumbents Rafael Mandelman, Amy Bacharach and Alex Randolph. Tom Temprano, a local bar owner and progressive activist, is running for a second time, and former Student Trustee Shanell Williams is also in the running.

With Trustee Steve Ngo leaving behind his seat after almost eight years on the board, voters will choose at least one new trustee.

The new board will have to grapple with a series of financial and enrollment issues at CCSF spawned since the college’s accreditor first threatened to revoke its accreditation in 2012. Now fully accredited but on restoration status, CCSF has until January to prove it should keep its doors open.

The American Federation of Teachers Local 2121, which represent CCSF faculty, is attempting to ensure that Bacharach does not return to the board. Though it has not endorsed Mandelman or Randolph, the union is recommending its supporters vote for anyone but Bacharach.

AFT 2121 President Tim Killikelly said Bacharach has in the past not supported health care and benefits for part-time workers. Whether part-time workers would have their salaries restored to previous levels was a hot button issue during contract negotiations between the union and district.

“I have been fighting for them, they just haven’t seen that at all,” said Bacharach, a policy research analyst for the state court system.

During her tenure, Bacharach helped re-establish a committee to increase enrollment and create a pipeline between K-12 public schools in San Francisco and CCSF. She said the union is targeting her as because she would be easier to replace with Temprano or Williams than the other two incumbents.

Mandelman, an attorney for the city of Oakland, has led the board through the accreditation crisis as board president and helped it reclaim local control over the college, which it was previously stripped of.

If re-elected, Mandelman said he would prioritize the search for a new chancellor — Interim Chancellor Susan Lamb’s contract expires next June — and also look for private and public funding to sustain the college.

Randolph, a former City Hall legislative aide, also said the chancellor search is imperative. He was appointed to an open seat on the board by Mayor Ed Lee last April before beating Temprano in the race for the seat in November.

Randolph is interested in increasing transparency at the college and accreditation reform across the state.

Temprano, the owner of Virgil’s Sea Room and is an LGBT activist, said improving enrollment is central for CCSF to move forward and believes CCSF should spend more of its large funding reserves on student outreach.

He is also critical of the administration’s decision to cancel courses earlier than usual this semester, a move administrators say is designed to give students a chance to find other classes sooner.

Williams, a community engagement specialist for UC San Francisco, has been an activist calling to keep CCSF open and accredited since 2012. As a trustee, Williams said she would work to boost student enrollment and pay for faculty and staff.

Williams is against the recent decision to reduce CCSF’s class schedule, and interested in maintaining courses wherever possible.

Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated that Bacharach did not support restored health care and benefits for part-time workers.

Michael Barba
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Michael Barba

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