South San Francisco, CA August 25, 2016 by John Baker
As the proud father of two children who attend District schools (a kindergartener and a seventh grader with special needs), I’ve been invested in our schools for almost a decade.
I come from a family of service. My wife is an attorney for a non-profit that fights senior poverty by securing access to affordable health, economic security and housing. My father-in-law recently retired after 30 years as a police inspector. I previously served on the SSF Library Board, as a public Housing Authority commissioner, and as chair of the SamTrans Citizens Advisory Committee.
In January, I was appointed to the South San Francisco Unified School District’s Board of Trustee. Knowing I was only guaranteed to be in the position for eight months, I set three modest goals:
- Help stabilize a School Board that has not always worked well together;
- Ensure Measure J bond construction resumed, particularly on campuses with unfinished work; and,
- Promote transparency by broadcasting Board meetings.
Three goals met! The Board has worked as a strong team, cooperating but respecting differing opinions; I helped move resolutions to get Measure J on track and served as liaison to the Buri Buri Construction Advocacy Committee; and, at my request, SSFUSD implemented an online audio broadcast of meetings at the cost of just $20 annually.
Now I hope the voters return me to the board so I can focus on things that require a long-term commitment. These include improving the experiences of children with special needs, such as my own son. I also wish to continue to improve academic standards, with the ultimate goal being that our local tech and biotech companies first look locally in hiring. I want to find ways to improve infrastructure at our east side schools, which — in a case of stunning inequity — seem to have not reaped the benefits of Measure J.
Let’s give students an experience beyond just reading, writing, and arithmetic – let’s stress the arts and take advantage of the expertise and financial support our adjacent tech and biotech companies can provide. Let’s help our kids have that experience in modernized, comfortable and safe classrooms. If elected, I pledge to use my experience as an infrastructure grant analyst, holder of a master’s degree in public administration, and years as a public housing and library commissioner to ensure our kids succeed.
John Baker is one of the 2 candidates for the 2 year position on the SSFUSD. (Scott Grindy is the other)