City College of San Francisco faces tough choices in the coming year as it battles to keep its accreditation and provide for students as the state cuts funding. Key to reviving the college and preparing it for the future is its board of trustees.
The San Francisco Examiner endorses two incumbents and two outsiders for the four open seats on the seven-person board.
Steve Ngo has been a vocal supporter of the college and understands the hard choices that must be made going forward. He is an advocate of students who appears capable of balancing both sides of the scale.
Rodrigo Santos was named by Mayor Ed Lee to fill out the term of the late Milton Marks III. Santos is a structural engineer who approaches the challenges of the college from a fact-based, no-nonsense stance. We expect him to be a key voice for fiscal responsibility, which is something that this troubled system, which serves more than 100,000 students, desperately needs.
But the CCSF board also needs new blood to tackle the challenges it faces. Natalie Berg has served on the board for 15 years and been active at the college for two decades. But in her interview with The San Francisco Examiner, she never acknowledged that the future of the college needs to be different than the past that brought the school to the brink of disaster. And Chris Jackson seems less than sufficiently willing to tackle the big problems identified by the system’s outside critics.
So The San Francisco Examiner endorses public-policy researcher Amy Bacharach, who will bring data-driven decision-making to the board. Bacharach will have a steep learning curve as a board newcomer during a time of great transition, but fresh ideas are needed to move the college into the future.
We also endorse William Walker, who has served on the board as a nonvoting student trustee. He will be a strong voice for students, and possesses some board experience.
City College is in many ways the leader among California community colleges. But the school must embrace painful changes as it grapples with a threat to its very existence. These candidates are best positioned to help get the system back on track.