Last winter, SF voters recalled three members of the Board of Education by more than 70%. We recognized how important it is for our schools to be run by administrators who focus on students instead of politics. We set our schools on the right track to balance the budget and teach kids to read. This fall, we need to KEEP schools on track and prevent sliding back into a jumble of performative politics and lawsuits. We need to vote to keep Ann Hsu, Lainie Motamedi and Lisa Weissman-Ward on the Board.
These three Commissioners were appointed last spring to take the place of the recalled commissioners, who made irresponsible decisions. The recalled commissioners were unable to account for millions of dollars raised from a school modernization bond. They let schools like Buena Vista Horace Mann continue to deteriorate, with electrical issues and a rat infestation. They let the budget deficit grow to more than $100 million, resulting in teacher layoffs and risking state takeover. We are still unable to pay teachers correctly because of the mismanagement in rolling out a new and expensive payroll system.
The former board also kept students out of classrooms. San Francisco was the only major city to keep middle and high schoolers out of school buildings for the 2021-2022 school year during the pandemic. We now see how school closures worsened mental health and educational outcomes. The learning gap for minority and disadvantaged students widened and we’re faced with a growing crisis about educating our kids.
And now the former School Board president, who was recalled by 72% of voters, is running again. We should not give her the chance to do more damage. Two other School Board candidates say they would make the same choices as the recalled commissioners. We should not let them. We must fix the problems that the former Board caused, not double down on them.
We need to focus on student outcomes. We need financially sound decisions. We need a Board that acts in students’ best interests. We need to elect Ann Hsu, Lainie Motamedi and Lisa Weissman-Ward to KEEP the school leadership our kids deserve.
Lee Work and Kira Gaber
Categories: letter to the editor