School board gets new faces

With several key decisions around the corner for San Francisco’s school board, voters rejected one veteran school board member and handed the three available seats on the seven-member board to three female newcomers.

Leading the pack was Jane Kim, the youth program director with the Chinatown Community Development Center. Although Kim did not receive key endorsements usually associated with a school board win, she raised the second-highest fundraising amount in the school board race.

Kim gave much of the credit for her campaign to the grass-roots nature of her campaign, and the help of volunteers.

Mayor Gavin Newsom’s pick for school board — his education adviser, Hydra Mendoza — also gained a seat. The parent of two young San Francisco public school children, Mendoza had received endorsements from the Chamber of Commerce, the teachers union, and the Democratic Party, and her fundraising efforts brought in across-the-board contributions from union groups, city workers and educators.

Although school districts are run separately from city governments because they receive primary funding from the state and federal governments, Newsom said having Mendoza on the school board would provide a “historic opportunity to build a partnership with City Hall.”

Kim-Shree Maufas, who received the support of the key endorsers — namely the teachers union and the Democratic Party — gained the third seat. The mother of a San Francisco public high school student and a community activist for The City’s Bayview district, Maufas is a policy analyst for The City’s Department on the Status of Women.

Incumbent Dan Kelly, a former public school parent and a 16-year member of the school board, was unseated in this election.

Newly elected school board members will be expected to jump into action, as the school board faces several significant decisions in the months ahead. The district’s continued decline in enrollment his year will likely result in more school closure decisions, which last year began in January.

The new board members will be charged with helping to choose a permanent superintendent for the district, a process that will be in the interviewing stage by next spring.

Revisions to the district’s school-assignment system are also scheduled for early next year, as well as negotiations for a new contract with the district’s teachers and aides.

beslinger@examiner.com

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