SF Green Party School Board Endorsement Questionnaire 2018
Due Date: Friday, Aug 24

Candidate Name: Monica Chinchila
Phone Number: 415-662-8489
Web site: https://www.monicachinchilla.com/
E-mail: info@monicachinchilla.com
Name of Campaign Manager: Self
Signed voluntary spending limit:
Major Endorsements: Former Superintendent of CA Public Schools Delaine Eastin, BOS President Malia Cohen, Chair of DCCC David Campos SEIU 1021, Mayor Art Agnos, SF Latino Democratic Club, Labor Council, Mayor London Breed
Incumbent Board Member whose votes most reflect your values: Shamann Walton, Mark Sanchez, Matt Haney
Incumbent whose votes least reflect your values: Emily Murase

1. How are you currently involved in the SFUSD -- or how were you involved in the past?

I am a mother, organizer and community builder. I
have lived and worked in SF for 15 years helping low-income families get
access to higher paying jobs, create supports for children to go to
college, access to the arts in the D10 community, create safe/supportive
spaces for children to play after school, hosted events to show teacher
appreciation, and have led initiatives addressing early childhood health
and literacy in SF. I also was the Coordinator for the California Coalition
for Equity in Early Care Education, that fought to create universal
preschool in CA and get a greater investment from the state for non-profit
early care providers. I am the only candidate who has worked on local and
statewide policy initiatives and am currently working with state and local
leaders to get an increased investment for SF public schools so we can fund
a liveable wage for our teachers and supports to close the achievement gap.
I also am a coalition builder and have worked on various initiatives that
have brought substantial impact to our City. I led the Soda Tax campaign in
2016 which now brings in $15 million a year into our City's budget. I was
the Coordinator of the Latino Parity and Equity Coalition which got a net
new investment of $800,000 into the Latino community last year, and as a
Commissioner I worked on multicultural coalition building between the Black
and Brown community. I work hard, I bring people together and get things
done. That's the type of Commissioner we need on the Board of Education.
Our families deserve leaders who will do what it takes to get results.

2. Why are you running for school board?

I am running for office because
our public schools matter. I believe I can be a valuable contribution to
the SF School Board board and help elevate our public schools to a top
priority in our city. Our schools need leaders who will do what it takes to
bring lasting changes for our district. I am passionate, hardworking,
relentless, and I get things done. I am also a stakeholder with a daughter
that will soon enter the district. I am Latina and come from immigrants
who believed that education would help them achieve the dreams they had for
their children. I am that product of a hardworking committed family. As a
Latina I will bring in the experience of the immigrant family, and will
fight for English Language Students, African American Students, Special
Education students and LGBTQ students. Our public schools impact
generations. Our public schools have been experiencing issues with funding,
teacher retention, student achievement for decades. No one is going to save
us but us. It is our job as a City to create local solutions that will
ensure that every child has the supports and opportunity to obtain a
quality education.

3. How do you feel about the current school assignment system? Would you make changes, and if so, which ones?

I strongly believe your home address
shouldn't determine the type of education our children receive, just as it
shouldn't affect any other service we provide our residents. The burden of
researching schools shouldn't be so onerous for parents and there are very
basic things we can do to make the system easier for parents to navigate.
We can make the application process online, utilize technology to help
parents search for schools, provide videos of the school/interviews from
teachers for families, provide those resources in
Spanish/Cantonese/Vietnamese, etc. We can provide school tours on weekends
and evenings so working families can have the opportunity to visit
potential schools, and provide neighborhood liaisons to help families
through the process. We need to make our schools more equitable across the
board to eliminate the race for the "top" schools. By expanding the
community schools model, we get a greater investment by the community for
these schools which will result in increased test scores, programs provided
to students, and increased enrollment.

4. How can we redistribute the more experienced and higher paid teachers throughout the city? What do you think the school district needs to do
to attract and improve the retention of good teachers who are willing to
work in socially stressed schools?

We need to invest in our teachers --
livable wages so that our educators can live and work in San Francisco. I
will advocate for teacher housing, teacher stipends, and other housing
programs that will address the current housing crisis. I am also working on
various initiatives to bring more funds into the district so we can pay our
teachers a wage comparable to our police officers and firefighters. Options
include: shifting larger portion of SFUSD budget to school sites for
teacher salaries, 1% tax on large corporations to fund teachers salaries
and reduce class sizes, working with state legislators to get greater
investment for high cost of living districts like SF. Ultimately, we need
to make sure that the supports are there for teachers in socially stressed
schools so they are not carrying the weight of our children alone.

5. Some of our schools receive significant funding from parent fundraising. Are you concerned about the inequality in fundraising
between schools in rich and poor neighborhoods, and if so, what ideas
do you have to make things more equitable?

Sister schools: pairing high
income schools with low income schools to share PTA funding. Also, I would
like to see more investment from local businesses and organizations into
our lower income schools so that each school can have access to funds to
care for our teachers, provide enrichment programs, schools supplies, etc.

6. What is your position on JROTC in the public schools?

Still being determined. I am talking to many community members now about
their experiences with this program.

7. Would you support district elections for school board members?

Don't know.

8. What do you think of the public comment policy at school board meetings? How (if at all) would you change it?

I would like to add 15 minutes of student comment before public comment.
We need to allow a dedicated time for student voices.

9. What is your stance on allowing noncitizen parents, guardians and caretakers of students to vote in school board elections?

I think all
parents deserve a say in their children's education. You citizenship status
shouldn't keep you from voting for the people who will impact your
children's education.

10. In what ways would you work to increase teacher
input in administrative decision-making? How would you work to increase
the voice of school site councils (parents, students and staff), in
administrative decision-making?

I am the only candidate who is currently
working with community to create the action plan, timeline, and systems of
support so that together from Day 1 we are working to close the achievement
gap. As I tell everyone, I am not the solution, we are the solution and it
is going to take all of us working together to support our next generation.
I am in full support of strengthening councils input in the budgetary and
decision making process. I think site budgets should be proposed and
debated before being submitted to the district.

11. Would you strengthen the voice of the elected student representatives, so that they could introduce legislation and vote on

Yes. I think more input is needed from those who are impacted most
directly by the policies dictated to them. I think policies shouldn't come
only from the BOE, they should come from the students and be enacted with
the help of those in positions of leadership.

12. How do you see the role of the School Board in comparison to the role of the superintendent?

(no answer was given)

13. A portion of SFUSD income is from rental
of various properties. What changes should the district make to increase
the income from these properties?

feasibility study to determine market
rate of rental properties and increase rent when leases end

14. What should
the district do to make its schools more environmentally friendly?

more community gardens, encourage programs like safe routes, offer cooking
courses on site.

15. Would you ensure that all San Francisco students have
access to a public pre-K program? If so, how?

I am a firm proponent of
Strong Start -- building a solid foundation for all children by
prioritizing PK-3rd grade education. Many of our children are not hitting
the marks in math and reading by 3rd grade. This makes graduation all the
more unlikely. I am committed to providing early support so that we can
create lifelong learners who can graduate and go to college. I am committed
to strengthening and expanding our preK program so every child has access.

16. Do you think Prop 13 needs to be reformed? If so, in what ways? How will you use your position on the Board to advocate for this?

Yes, we need Prop 13 reform to increase funding for our public schools. I
support the reform of Prop 13 to unfreeze the corporate property tax rate.
I will use my position to be a strong advocate for this reform and to build
local coalitions to ensure this reform gets passed.

17. Have you read Diane
Ravitch's book, "The Death and Life of the Great American School
System?" What lessons should the District take from this work? Whether
or not you've read the book, what role do you see for charter schools in
the public education system?

I do not support charter schools, nor believe they are the answer to
addressing the achievement gap in our district.

18. What do you think of
the District's use of standardized tests? How would you change them, if
at all?

Our communities are so diverse that it would be impossible for a test to
accurately report the true performance of our students. It is especially
true considering these tests are intrinsically biased and skewed to favor a
certain demographic of the population. Educators should not be required to
take away from valuable instructional time to "teach to a test". It is
important to note that valuable practices that result in the overall
improvement of test scores (i.e. social emotional supports, learning
circles, character development) are not being measured in these tests, yet
are a critical component of classroom success. However, I do believe that
some assessments, particularly around reading, are very important to make
certain students are not falling through the cracks. My focus will be to
level the playing field and establish that any standardized tests put
forward by the district, supported by UESF, will have programs and policies
in place to address these inequities. For example, if children are required
to take a standardized test on the computer I will work to make sure that
populations who don't have continual access to a computer (lower performing
schools, English Learners) will have consistent access to computers.
Computers will then become a natural extension of their learning
experience, instead of a novelty, and students will be better prepared and
able to succeed in these computerized tests.

19. How can the public schools
better address the needs of Special Education students and ESL students?

Strong Start -- building a solid foundation for all children by
prioritizing PK-3rd grade education. Many of our children are not hitting
the marks in math and reading by 3rd grade. This makes graduation all the
more unlikely. I am committed to providing early support so that we can
create lifelong learners who can graduate and go to college. Focus will be
around early identification of learning disabilities, reclassification of
english language learners and literacy coaches.

20. Please describe how you
make your political decisions. What is the main basis for your decision
making (e.g., consultation with your constituents, political
consultants, colleagues, unions, businesses, donors, or your gut

I make my decisions based on data, input from the community, experts in
the field, and then on the question of "what will strengthen our district
and help our students/teachers/staff feel valued"

Due Date: Friday, August 24, 11:59 pm.

Please submit by email to cc@sfgreens.org. For more information, call
Erika McDonald at 415-337-1499. Please return your answers in plain
text (not HTML, PDF, or Word format), so that we can post all
candidates' answers in the same format.

The SF Green Party invites all candidates who return completed
questionnaires on time to speak and answer questions at our candidate
forum and endorsement meeting (tentatively scheduled for Wed, Aug 29
from 6-9 pm). If you need to schedule a particular time slot, or if
you are unable to make the meeting, please be in touch with us at
cc@sfgreens.org. Otherwise, we'll interview candidates as you arrive.
Our forum and endorsement meeting will take place in the theater
on the 2nd floor of the Redstone Building, located at 2940 16th Street
(between Mission and South Van Ness, 1 block from 16th St BART).

Completed questionnaires will be posted on our website,