By Tim Redmond
SEPTEMBER 2, 2014 — The San Francisco School Board race is something of a sleeper this year; not much in the way of new stories, not much of the sort of high-profile news that’s kept the Community College Board race in the headlines.
But that could change very fast if the board can’t come to terms with the teachers’ union, which has overwhelming membership support for a strike that could happen before Election Day.
There will be at least one newcomer on the board – Kim-Shree Maufas has decided not to seek re-election. There was talk for a while that Hydra Mendoza would also decline to seek another term, which would be fine with me: Mendoza has always been a problem. Not that she’s always a bad board member, but she’s worked for years as the mayor’s education advisor – and that creates an immediate, unavoidable conflict of interest. Is she representing the mayor and his wishes, as she has to do all day to earn a living – or what’s best for the schools? At times, those are in conflict.
But she decided to run again, and it’s hard to oust an incumbent unless the person has done something pretty bad, and the voters don’t seem to agree with me that Mendoza can’t serve two masters. So that the odds are that she and incumbent Emily Murase will retain their seats — unless the teachers walk. Then it’s anyone’s race.
Maufas is strongly supporting Stevon Cook – although Cook didn’t get the Democratic County Central Committee nod, which went to Trevor McNeil (a DCCC member), incumbent Emily Murase, and Shamann Walton, who also ran last time. Cook did get the Milk Club, along with Jaime Rafaela Wolfe.
And, significantly, Cook and Walton are the only two candidates who have the support of the teachers’ union. That’s because negotiations are tense: “Given that we’re in the middle of a contract fight, we can’t possible endorse any of the incumbent board members,” Ken Tray, political director for the United Educators of San Francisco, told me. Continue reading