win school board seats
by Seth Hemmelgarn
Voters have returned three incumbents and added a new member to the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education this week, unofficial returns show.
Sandra Lee Fewer, Jill Wynns, and Rachel Norton, who already serve on the board, are to be joined by Matt Haney, according to preliminary results as of Tuesday night, November 6.
Fewer had 16.85 percent of the vote, while Wynns had 14.16 percent, Norton had 13.55 percent, and Haney had 13.3 percent.
The board, which oversees a budget of $597 million, does not have an out LGBT member (no out person ran this year) but the winners all support efforts to increase student safety, including for LGBT pupils, and curriculum that includes lessons on LGBT history.
In response to a Bay Area Reporter questionnaire earlier this year, Haney, like all other candidates, expressed strong support for LGBT students.
However, Haney pointed out there are more concerns facing students and families in the city.
"We have to figure out how to deal with our budget challenges," he said in an interview Wednesday morning, November 7.
He said even with the tentative passage of Proposition 30, the state measure that increases taxes in order to support education, "We still have a budget deficit we have to deal with, and I think for the board to be able to maintain things that are working and build on those things, we have to make sure we have the resources to do that."
Norton also expressed concern about finances Wednesday.
She said if Prop 30 passes, "We're going to have a little breathing room on the budget," but "some small cuts" would need to be made for the 2013-14 school year.
Fewer and Wynns have also voiced worries about the budget, while also talking about working to improve the experiences of LGBT students.
Fewer, who was elected to the board in 2008, said in her questionnaire responses, "We have a lot of work to do to change the culture of SFUSD schools" around lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning issues. "Our data tells us that LGBTQQ youth are three to four times more likely to be truant, harassed, bullied and sadly, contemplate suicide. Clearly, we must respond."
Wynns told the B.A.R. in her responses, "The support and expansion of our Support Services for LGBTQ Youth is a high priority for me."
There was one open seat on the board as Norman Yee's term was up and he opted to run for supervisor in District 7. As of Tuesday night, Yee appeared to be winning that race, with 28.2 percent of the vote. It's not clear how that may change as a result of the city's ranked-choice voting system.