Voters sticking with incumbents on City College of SF Board

New trustees Aliya Chisti, Alan Wong look likely to join Tom Temprano, Shanell Williams

Voters on Tuesday appeared to be sticking with incumbents on City College of San Francisco’s Board of Trustees after navigating a crowded field of new contenders.

Trustees Shanell Williams and Tom Temprano were holding on to their seats and looked likely to be joined by Aliya Chisti and legislative aide Alan Wong, as of returns released early Wednesday. Four seats were up for grabs with better odds for newcomers after Trustees Ivy Lee and Alex Randolph declined to run.

Chisti’s election marks a first for San Francisco; she’s the first Muslim woman to hold public office in The City.

As a legislative aide to Supervisor Gordon Mar, Wong has worked to expand City College to the Sunset District and bring additional funding for workforce education as part of The City’s economic recovery.

Williams, a former student trustee, and Temprano, legislative aide to Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, came aboard as City College struggled to pick up the pieces after its accreditation crisis. The two, with the rest of the trustees, worked to implement and secure funding through the Free City College program, which San Francisco native Chisti oversees at the Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families. They also ushered in voter approval of an $845 million bond measure earlier this year.

New and returning trustees will have their work cut out for them addressing a budget deficit exacerbated by the pandemic, which all candidates promised to do, as well as selecting a long-term, stabilizing chancellor.

While enrollment ticked up after San Francisco implemented free tuition for residents, the college saw sharp drops in enrollment between spring and fall semesters, further impacting funding.

Concerns over the budget have even landed the college back on “enhanced monitoring” as of September by the agency that nearly revoked its accreditation in a five-year battle that ended in 2017.

But financial woes were never resolved, often resulting in classes being cut weeks before the semester’s start, eroding trust among City College faculty and students.

Trustees also approved the closure of its arts and older adults-centric campus at Fort Mason in May.

Faculty union American Federation of Teachers 2121 did not support the incumbents, instead backing Chisti, Wong, Anita Martinez and Han Zou.

The new board also will have to oversee development of the Balboa Reservoir, approved to build 1,100 housing units, half of which are affordable, on public land adjacent to the main Ocean campus.

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