Recalled SF school board member files to run for old role in November

Sign outside of Lowell High School in San Francisco
A recalled San Francisco school board commissioner has filed papers to run for her former position this fall. Photo credit Mallory Somera/KCBS Radio

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) – A recalled San Francisco school board commissioner has filed papers to run for her former position this fall.

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Gabriela López, whom 72% of voters in February's special election chose to oust from the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education, submitted papers for her candidacy on Thursday. The San Francisco Department of Elections listed her qualification for the ballot as pending a day before the city’s filing deadline.

López served as the board president before she was recalled earlier this year alongside commissioners Faauuga Moliga and Alison Collins following highly publicized criticism of the board's pace of reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, a controversial plan to rename dozens of schools, changing prestigious Lowell High School's admissions to a lottery system and Collins' racist 2016 tweets about Asian Americans.

Thirty-six percent of San Francisco voters cast ballots in February's special election, when voters were asked in three separate questions whether to recall Collins (76.3% said yes), López (72.1% said yes) and Moliga (68.9% said yes).

All three recalled commissioners were elected to the board of education in 2018, when 74.5% of the city's registered voters cast ballots. At least 13% of participating voters chose three commissioners to serve on the board.

López and eight others have declared their candidacies: Alida Fisher, Deldelp Medina, Joseph Kelly Jr., Laurance Lee and mayoral appointees Ann Hsu, Elaine Motamedi and Lisa Weissman-Ward. Hsu and Weismman-Ward qualified for the ballot on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

López is running as controversy surrounds one of Mayor London Breed's appointees to the board. The San Francisco Board of Education formally admonished Hsu for a racist comment she made about Black and brown students’ “unstable family environments” contributing to racial disparities in education.

Soon after Hsu’s answer in a pre-election questionnaire surfaced, López tweeted “(anyone) reading this and accepting it as normal behavior by a school board member should be ashamed.”

San Francisco Parent Action, the political organization that issued the questionnaire where Hsu provided and revised the answer, announced on Thursday it wasn't endorsing Hsu – but was endorsing Breed's two other appointees – after it could "not reach consensus on an endorsement of the candidate."

"We are supportive of her work to reach out and listen to the broader community after her misconceptions around Black and brown families were recently revealed," the organization said of Hsu. "The pain felt by members in our network is still raw."

Facing calls from the local NAACP, teachers' union and other organizations for her resignation, Hsu said ahead of voting for her own admonishment earlier this month that "canceling each other is not the way" to address systemic bias and inequity.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Mallory Somera/KCBS Radio