Haney, 3 incumbents facing fierce SFUSD budget woes

Matthew Haney will join three incumbents on the San Francisco Unified School District’s Board of Education after coming out on top in Tuesday’s election.

Twelve candidates vied for four open spots on the board, which oversees the operations and policy decisions of 50,000 students in The City’s lone school district.

Incumbents Sandra Lee Fewer, Rachel Norton and Jill Wynns sought re-election. The fourth seat was vacated by Norman Yee, who ran for District 7 supervisor. Competing against them were Kim Garcia-Meza, Joseph Kelly Jr., Victoria Lo, Beverly Ho-A-Yun Popek, Paul Robertson, Sam Rodriguez, Gladys Soto, Shamann Walton and Haney.

The new and returning board members, who will be sworn in this January, will face an uphill battle as the district tries to cope with continued budget cuts and attempts to close the achievement gap between low-income minority students and their white and Asian peers.

One hurdle board members will have to overcome in their quest to close the achievement gap is funding. A federal grant aimed at providing professional development and resources to districts’ historically underperforming schools runs out at the end of the year.

In SFUSD, the schools benefiting from the grant are known as Superintendent’s Zone schools. They consist of 15 elementary, middle and high schools and are located primarily in the Mission and Bayview neighborhoods.

Improved test scores over the years show the benefits of grants for low-income schools, some board members have said, but where and how such programs can continue will be a necessary conversation.

Schools have taken the brunt of budget cuts in California over the past three years. Many of the board members’ future decisions will depend on the outcome of Proposition 30, which would raise funds with a tax increase.

By press time, Prop. 30 was too close to call.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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