San Francisco voters appeared set to re-elect school board incumbents overseeing a controversial year of distance learning while adding a community advocate and another educator to the mix, according to Tuesday night’s results.
Board member Jenny Lam, an education adviser to Mayor London Breed, and Board of Education President Mark Sanchez, a teacher, secured the top two slots, results posted before 11 p.m. showed. Kevine Boggess, education policy director for Coleman Advocates and Matt Alexander, a former San Francisco Unified School District principal, also appeared to have received enough votes to join the board for the first time among 10 candidates Tuesday night.
Board members Stevon Cook and Rachel Norton declined to run for re-election this November, leaving room for prospective board newcomers to fill two of four open seats.
The new slate of commissioners comes as SFUSD prepares to bring back a core group of the youngest and neediest students amid increasing pressure to reopen. Sanchez, who did not fundraise for his re-election to focus on the work, and Lam, who was first elected in 2019 after Breed appointed her, faced a potential revolt from unhappy parents but held on to their seats.
Board members will also need to contend with an ongoing budget deficit made tougher by the pandemic, but that may be helped by some education-related measures on the local and state level.
The Board of Education also has a slate of controversial proposals to weigh in the coming months including the overhauling of its school assignment system, the removal of symbols of racism in schools through a volunteer committee process, and a possible change to Lowell High School’s merit-based admissions after a temporary change was approved in October due to the pandemic.
Other candidates to draw a significant number of votes include Alida Fisher, a parent to children with disabilities who previously ran in 2018 and came in a close fifth after Alexander Tuesday night; Michelle Parker, who also ran in 2018, an SFUSD parent who has served on school committees and has advocated for funding at the state level; and Genevieve Lawrence, a teacher in San Mateo and former analyst for the Clorox Co.
The United Educators of San Francisco voted to support Lam, Sanchez, Alexander and Boggess.