We won!

I’m so proud to report that we won the election by 70-30 margin, and I am now the newest Trustee of the South San Francisco School Board!

Running an election was quite an experience of expected and unexpected things. I will share part of the letter I wrote to supporters:

Thank you for supporting my campaign, whether it was through a donation of time, money, mental support, or all three. I appreciate that you believed in my vision for my time on the board and that you equally believed I could see it through.

I was honored to be selected by more than 70% of voters in my district, and I believe we achieved that result thanks to a great team. We canvassed more than 1,500 houses (almost 4,000 of the 8,800 registered voters). We had a fantastic mailer thanks to the South San Francisco Classroom Teachers Association. We had compelling endorsements and an equally compelling message.

I had my first board meeting on Dec 15 and it was great to honor outgoing Board President John Baker and select Dr. Chialin Hsieh as the new President.

We heard from Marco Lopez, the principal of Parkway Heights, and learned about the Character Strong program that is showing early results in connecting kids to school.

I have a lot of thoughts to share about the California School Boards Association conference from Nov 30-Dec 3 and I will be sharing them in the coming weeks.

Thank you again for your support!


Last week!

It’s less than one week till the election and about 20% of people across San Mateo County have voted, including me!

It was a surreal experience to vote for myself but also pretty amazing. It is a testament to the support I have received that I’m on there and have a chance at being the new Trustee for the South San Francisco Unified School District!

I attended the district’s Community Forum a couple of weeks ago to learn more about the facilities needs of the district. We have made as many investments as we can using our operating maintenance budget but some of the work that needs to be done really will require major capital outlays. That’s one reason Measure T is so important.

I have heard from many residents that they worry about Measure T because of Measure J. I’m not here to explain away Measure J because I wasn’t here then, but I can only say that it’s a different board, a different superintendent and a different time in South San Francisco’s history.

I genuinely love holding myself and others accountable to the work we say we’re going to do, and making sure our investments in our school facilities are done right is important to me.

I hope you’ll trust me to see these investments through in a responsible and reliable way. So get out there – there’s still 6 more days to vote!

School Funding

Since the passage of Prop 13 in 1978, the funding for California’s public schools has dropped dramatically per pupil. California went from having some of the best-funded public schools in the nation to some of the worst – and at the very time that we needed more investment.

Evolve California, who has endorsed me, is working to right the ship and fully fund our schools. Even though California voters are unlikely to repeal Prop 13 for homeowners, there is still a chance (small, but a chance) of repealing it for commercial property. And there are other ways of funding, too, that don’t require begging for charity or hoping that bond measures like South San Francisco’s Measure T pass.

When you don’t have fully funded public schools, you have fights about who “deserves” the money more – and that’s a tragedy. We should have great teachers in every school, great arts, music AND STEM programs at every schools, and additional supports for students with disabilities, English Language Learners and gifted and talented students.

I understand that Prop 13 has done a lot to keep families in their homes, and I appreciate that. It’s been a joy to talk to so many folks in South San Francisco who have lived here for 30+ years. But we do need a fairer funding system to help the students who will be here for the next 30.

I’d love to see school funding completely reformed and removed entirely from property taxes. In fact, my husband, who is from Poland, was shocked to hear that this is how we fund schools, and not from a central budget. But if we can’t do that – then let’s make what we have better.

Starting early, with more resources

I started canvassing last week and have had some excellent conversations with voters. Voters I’ve spoken to overwhelmingly agree that we need stronger college and career planning earlier.

I worked in education administration for several years before moving abroad. In that time, I learned how important it was to have high quality programming starting in middle school for students to explore careers – this is where students truly begin to develop their interests. Moreover, this is when they need to pick a high school that will help them get to their goals.

Research also showed that 9th grade on-track rates were among the most critical predictors of graduating high school and moving on to college or a career. So it’s clear we need to start earlier than 11th grade.

But college and career readiness starts even earlier than middle or high school. It starts with having well-supported kindergarten and elementary teachers and classrooms to teach the fundamentals – reading, writing, arithmetic (and science! and art! and music!) – but also allow students to play, discover, and create. Without leaving time for kids to play, we don’t allow children to develop their personalities and curiosity about the world.

I am eager to get more resources and partners into our schools to make play possible, to give teachers more time to prepare, and to develop our career exploration programs.

How can you support the campaign?

You can support the campaign many ways!

  1. You can share it with your friends! This is especially helpful if you live in South San Francisco because they might be able to vote for me. 🙂
  2. You can donate to help me send mailers and other messages to voters and share my fundraising link with your friends. Every dollar counts! https://secure.anedot.com/amandaforssf/donate If you prefer to send me a check, I accept those, too – at PO Box 855, South San Francisco, CA 94083. If you give $100 or more, then please drop a note with your check about your occupation and employer. It’s a campaign finance requirement!
  3. You can sign up to text bank or canvass with me so we can talk to voters!
  4. You can share your ideas with me about what is important! I need to hear about what’s going on in SSF schools and schools around the country – what teachers are feeling, what topics students are worried about, etc. Keep me in the know!

Why am I running for school board?

Why am I running for school board? The short answer is this: the common theme of my work has been education – as a journalist, an education administrator, an adult education teacher, a small business owner, and as a non-profit program manager.

Throughout my career, I have worked to build equitable systems and communities where everyone has access to information and resources that enable them to reach their full potential.

I want to make sure that students, teachers and other members of the South San Francisco Unified School District community have a district that not only works for all, but excels for all.

I am running for office because I have the knowledge and experience in education policy and government to ensure we are doing everything we can to provide excellent teaching and learning for all students.