Due Date: Tuesday, Aug 18
Candidate Name: Mark Sanchez
Phone Number: 415-940-3169
Web site: marksanchezsf.org
Name of Campaign Manager: Jeremiah Jeffries
How much do you expect to spend in this contest: Up to $1999--not fundraising
ORGANIZATIONS: United Educators of San Francisco, SEIU 1021, Latino Democratic Club, Bernal Heights Democratic Club, SF Berniecrats, Coleman
Action Fund, Chinese American Democratic Club, Alice B. Toklas Democratic
Club, Latinx Young Democrats
ELECTED AND FORMERLY ELECTED: Jane Kim, David Campos, Hillary Ronen, Rafael Mandelman, Gordon Mar, Dean Preston, Matt Haney, Shamann Walton, Norman
Yee, Stevon Cook, Alison Collins, Gabriela Lopez, Jenny Lam, Faauuga
Moliga, Tom Temprano, Shanell Williams, Bevan Dufty, Janice Li, Chesa
Boudin, Eric Mar, Kim-Shree Maufus, Nancy Pelosi, David Chiu
Incumbent Board Member whose votes most reflect your values:
Incumbent whose votes least reflect your values: As president of the Board of Education, I'm simpatico with the full board, which has honored me with
their confidence as their leader.
1. What is your stance on resuming in-person classes in the time of COVID?
Would you prioritize particular grades or students? What would be the main
basis on which you make this decision? (e.g., would it be based on your
gut feelings, or whose advice would you listen to)?
Our decision whether and when to re-open schools, even as a hybrid model
where some students attend, while others continue distance learning, will
be determined by the science, logistics and financing. The Board takes
seriously the guidance of our local department of public health to help us
with this critical decision making. Of course, my preference--as a school
board commissioner as well as a 4th grade teacher--is to have all students
back in the classroom as soon as possible; distance--or crisis--learning
will never provide students what they need educationally compared to in
person instruction. That said, I do not want to put students, their
families and our staff (or myself, for that matter) in jeopardy by
returning when the conditions are not right. Even when the conditions
improve with flattening infection rates in our community, the variables
that concern me are: in-school social distancing/adequate PPE supplies,
appropriate ventilation in all classrooms, transportation costs,
insufficient numbers of school nurses and custodians. In the event that we
will be able to open some of our school spaces and meet all the criteria
for safety, I would prioritize offering access to students residing in
public housing, homeless students, foster care students, African American
students, and students with special needs.
2. Why are you running for school board?
I would like to continue to help lead the school district during this
unprecedented time as we attempt to navigate locally within state and
national systems that are failing to lead us safely through this pandemic.
I want to continue, as well, to make the case for, work for, and achieve
funding for our public schools that will at least bring us to the national
average for per pupil spending--which means at least $200M in funding
annually more than what our students currently receive.
3. How are you currently involved in the SFUSD -- or how were you involved
in the past?
I began teaching in 1993. While a teacher, I co-founded Teachers 4 Social
Justice in 1999, and in 2000 became the sole teacher on the San Francisco
Board of Education and began teaching 8th grade science in Redwood City
School District. After serving on the Board for eight years, I became a
principal at Horace Mann Middle School in the Mission District and then at
Cleveland Elementary School in the Excelsior District for the next eight
years, only leaving site leadership in 2016 to return to classroom teaching
as I rejoined the Board of Education, again as the lone educator voice on
the Board. I am going into my fourth year as a 4th grade teacher at
Panorama School in Brisbane School District. Throughout my tenure as an
educator, I have continuously worked to create quality schools for all of
our children and amplify the voices of parents and caregivers, educators
and all others working for our students. I currently serve as the President
of the San Francisco Board of Education.
4. How do you feel about the current school assignment system? Would you
make changes, and if so, which ones?
The current assignment system is opaque, unpredictable, causes massive
frustration and skepticism--but even more disappointing is that it hasn't
brought about any meaningful and sustained classroom/school integration.
Not that that hasn't been the intent all along with the district's myriad
desegregation policies over the years--so it's not for lack of trying. I
serve on the board's Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment and most likely
will be voting by year's end on a new system (for K-5) that will allow for
more predictability and most likely reduce the type of choice we have
currently, which allows parents to be free agents; meaning those with the
most social capital and time are able to visit and rank many, many schools,
which then advantages those families, leading to more and more racially
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?
The District's Parent Advisory Council shares my concern about the
inequities brought about by the divide in school fundraising. One idea that
the PAC has been considering endorsing is to pool a percentage of each
school's fundraising and then redistribute dollars to schools that are
least able to raise the kind of revenue that brings some of our schools
more enrichment activities, including, for example, performing and visual
Last year I co-authored a resolution that dramatically increases the
effectiveness of the District's weighted student formula--a funding
mechanism that adds dollars to follow students who are low income, for
example. The resolution mandated adding duplicative funding weights for
more groups of students: those residing in public housing, homeless
students, foster care students, and those whose parents are incarcerated.
Please go to this link to read the resolution:
6. Are you familiar with the case of Williams et al. v State of California?
Do you believe that all schools in the SFUSD are currently in compliance
The Board of Education receives quarterly Williams compliance updates that
indicate that the District is in compliance. The Williams settlement didn't
go far enough; it basically mandates that all classrooms have state adopted
texts and materials (but not, for example, classroom leveled libraries,
which most teachers find crucial compared to adopted texts. The facilities
complaints are generally limited to, for example, gas leaks or sewer line
stoppage; but not, for example, deferred maintenance, which is commonplace
in California's underfunded school system.
7. What is your position on JROTC in the public schools?
I authored the 2006 resolution to remove JROTC from our schools, where they
disproportionately target students of color.
8. Would you support district elections for school board members?
9. Did you support the 2016 Proposition A school bond? Do you think funds
were spent wisely:
Yes. Historically, SFUSD has received positive bond ratings. The District
almost always comes in under budget and on time for its bond projects. Does
that mean every school is modernized and equipped to serve all of our
students? No. I support a 2022 bond that will include dollars for deferred
maintenance. Also, SFUSD was the first district in the state to include in
its capital project bonds a provision to fund the greening of our campuses;
without these dollars, our schools would have remained as inhospitable as
they were pre 2004.
10. What is your stance on allowing noncitizen parents, guardians and
caretakers of students to vote in school board elections? Did you
take a public position on previous ballot initiatives on the
I co-authored the Board of Education's resolution to support noncitizen
parents/guardians to vote in school board elections in 2004.
11. What are your thoughts on the various non-profit organizations
that partner and/or contract with SFUSD?
The city of San Francisco is extremely fortunate to have perhaps more CBO's
per capita than any other city. Many of them work with our students and
families, as well as with school staff. They provide a direct line,
oftentimes, to our most struggling families, connecting them with resources
and expertise. I've also seen numerous examples of non-profits that have
the expertise to work with schools be ignored or even treated poorly. It's
extremely important that more and more of our schools build out to become
community hubs which provide for education as well as wrap around services
for families. CBO's are critical when we view schools with this lens.
12. Would you strengthen the voice of the elected student
representatives, so that they could introduce legislation and vote
As president of the Board of Education this year I've made it a point to
work not only with our amazing student delegates, but with the Student
Advisory Council (which our delegates are a part of). To that end, our
delegates have authored a resolution (which I sponsored) to demand that the
City forward Educational Revenue Augmentation Funds to the district to
support course offerings and social emotional services. They are currently
working on a resolution to call attention to and to work with schools to
eradicate sexual harassment and assault on campus.
13. How do you see the role of the School Board in comparison to the
role of the superintendent?
The superintendent is the sole employee of the Board of Education. The
Board depends on Superintendent Matthews to provide accurate and robust
information in a timely manner, particularly as the Board sets its sights
on particular policies that will influence how the District operates. In
the best of times, the superintendent and Board work as a team to put into
motion reforms that will, for example, close the educational opportunity
14. Do you think that SFUSD currently serves the transportation needs
of its students: Would you make changes to the current system?
We have an astronomically high costing transportation system, costing more
than $15,000 a year to transport a single student ($32M annually). We are
currently vetting a resolution authored by Commissioner Moliga that will
help the District mitigate these costs.
15. Would you ensure that all San Francisco students have access to a
public pre-K program? If so, how?
The state of California has not, doesn't, and probably won't fund universal
pre-kindergarten programming. With that said, it's impossible to fund this
urgent need with our current fiscal reality--SFUSD would need an increase
of $200M in annual revenue just to reach the national average in per pupil
spending, adjusted for the cost of living in San Francisco. This is one of
the reasons I promote a ballot measure that would provide a City set aside
of ERAF dollars to help get us to the national average so that we can offer
pre-K programming, among other critical needs, such as school social
workers at each and every one of our school sites.
16. 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
I'm familiar with Ravitch's work.
I don't support the expansion of charter schools in SFUSD. I do not
support privatization of public schools and any public resources and
institutions. I believe we should hold any that do exist accountable to
high standards. Prior to her election to the SF Board of Education in 2018,
Alison Collins worked with me, Coleman Advocates and others to author the
resolution “In Support of Increased Oversight, Transparency, and
Accountability for Charter Schools in Relation to Fiscal, Educational, and
Socio-Emotional Impacts on SFUSD Students.” The resolution mandated the
creation of a charter school oversight committee that is now up and
running. I also support the full implementation of AB 1505--I lobbied for
it. I am opposed to new and expanded charter school initiatives. This is
one of the critical components of the charter accountability resolution I
authored and passed at the Board of Education. I also support Senate Bill
126 which requires California's 1,300-plus charter schools to follow the
same laws governing open meetings, public records and conflicts of interest
that apply to school districts. This includes ensuring board meetings are
open to the public, providing records to the public upon request and, to
prevent personal gain, banning board members from voting on contracts in
which they have a financial interest. This is such an important step in
holding charters accountable to the public and pushing back against the
corrupt practices that surround so many charters.
17. What do you think of the current requirements that students take
the SBAC test, and what are your thoughts on standardized testing
I was extremely gratified when the state pulled the plug on the SBAC this
past spring. I promote permanently removing this type of over-used high
stakes testing which forces schools to narrow curriculum and is used to
punish public education systems.
18. How can the public schools better address the needs of Special
Education students and ESL students?
As a public school teacher, for years I have worked every day with ELL
families to increase language access so that families can help their
children at home and engage with schools. In my time on the Board we have
worked to address this by increasing translation services, hiring more
educators and staff who speak the languages reflected in our schools. Of
course we have lots more work to do in this area as well as providing
quality professional development that help teachers become more culturally
competent and knowledgeable about the communities they serve. I have also
supported having daily English language development time for students to
ensure they are getting the opportunity to practice and use English with
the support of their teachers. Regarding students with special needs: We
are in the midst of making some extremely difficult choices regarding how
we will commence teaching and learning this coming school year. I am
advocating that--if we are able to open campuses at all--we do so with the
aim of providing in person classes for students with IEP's, early education
students, Black students, and those who are English Learners.