Progressives gaining power 

The precarious balance of power on San Francisco’s school board is expected to shift more to the left tonight, with board members predicting that the next chosen board president will be Mark Sanchez, an openly gay Green Party member.

San Francisco Board of Education President Norman Yee — who will be teleconferenced into the meeting from a hospital bed — said he is interested in taking on the role of vice president for the coming year to "show the public that there’s continuityin leadership" on the seven-member board.

Competing with Yee for the position of second-in-command will be Sanchez’s former roommate, Kim-Shree Maufas, according to several veteran board members. Maufas, a policy analyst for The City, was elected to the board in November.

Yee, who for several years has been a swing vote on a board that is frequently divided between progressives and moderates, said he plans to vote for Sanchez, but he’d also like to be vice president to prevent a "one-sided leadership configuration" with two progressive members at the helm.

Former School board president Eric Mar, another board progressive, said he plans to vote for Sanchez, but he and other board members are still undecided about their vote for vice president.

Sanchez, a middle school teacher in Redwood City, confirmed that he is interested in heading up the board this year. "Voters have said in several successive elections that they want a progressive agenda and I think I can help lead that," said Sanchez, who also said he felt that the seven-member board should rotate the leadership position.

Sanchez recently co-authored the board resolution that resulted in the controversial decision to disband the district’s high school military program, the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, as a way of opposing armed conflict and the military’s policy of excluding known homosexuals.

Sanchez said he’d like to have Maufas, who is African-American, as his vice president, to help the school board focus on ways to boost the sagging academic achievement of African-American students in the district.

"We also have four women on the board now, so there should be a woman in a leadership position as well," Sanchez said.

Maufas told The Examiner she was considering running for vice president, but she would be content if one of the other two newly elected women won the position.

"I don’t think there should be two males when we have such well-qualified females," Maufas said.

In addition to Maufas, there are two other newcomers to the board this year: Jane Kim, who heads up a Chinatown youth organization, and Hydra Mendoza, education adviser to Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Yee is a patient at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Vallejo and has gone through two spinal surgeries since being struck by a car the day after Christmas while walking near Fourth and Bryant streets.

beslinger@examiner.com

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