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Providing quality public education for all is one of the most important responsibilities of our government. Open, affordable, and equitable access to high quality educational opportunities is the key to enabling pursuit of the American Dream. In particular, the San Mateo County Community College District is a vital link between our locally run K-12 school systems and our state-run four-year public colleges and universities, and is the primary provider of career and job skills training in San Mateo County. While I've accomplished a lot since I began serving on our Community College Board, including putting in place many programs that have increased the number of students who successfully attained their educational goals, there are many challenges ahead and there's a lot more that I would like to do.

Here's my 10-Point Plan for the next four years:

1. Ensure complete recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, making sure we offer extra support to our most vulnerable and at-risk students, return safely to face-to-face instruction on our campuses, build on and enhance the skills we have developed in online instruction, and thoughtfully execute the necessary budget cuts that we are anticipating as a result of the related economic downturn. 

2. Execute on a thoughtful plan to transition, onboard, and support new, diverse leadership for our District as our most experienced educational and staff leaders have retired. This includes our new Chancellor and two new College Presidents, at least two new Trustees, as well as our new Chief Business Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, and Chief Information Officer; the biggest change in leadership in our District in the past 20 years.

3. Update our District Strategic Plan with a focus on increasing student success in achieving their educational goals, and closing the equity gaps that many of our students face.  I want to make sure we have metrics and benchmarks in place to ensure that the programs we spend money on actually contribute to increasing our students’ success.

4. Continue to enhance our course offerings, degree programs, and student services to match the educational needs and goals of our community and our students, and continue to focus on preparing our students to transfer to four-year colleges and universities or for good paying jobs that are available in our local community. Also provide better career planning, internship, and job placement opportunities for our students, in partnership with our local business community.

5. Dramatically expand the number of four-year degrees that we can offer here in San Mateo County by working with our State legislators, the California State University system, and local colleges and universities. San Mateo County is arguably the largest county in California without a public four-year institution and it's often hard for our residents to travel to the nearest CSU in San Francisco, San Jose, or the East Bay. I want to change that by providing more options to pursue four-year degrees on our Community College campuses. 

6. Continue to develop and put in place a College Promise program so that every high school graduate in San Mateo County, not just the ones that find their way to one of our three campuses, is prepared for college academically, financially, and socially, if they so desire. One third of the high school graduates in San Mateo County do not pursue higher education, and are effectively frozen out of our knowledge-based, high tech, high skill local economy.

7. Do more to address the issue of housing insecurity that our students face. Having several hundred of our students homeless and living in their cars on any given night while attending our colleges is a moral failing for one of the wealthiest counties in the United States. I will continue to work on both short-term and long-term solutions to address our students’ housing needs, and continue to expand on our successful workforce housing programs.

8. Provide solutions for our students’ food insecurity and nutritional needs, through continuing to provide subsidized “grab-and-go” and hot meals on campus and additional access to food pantries for our students and their families.

9. Improve transportation to our campuses from underserved areas, particularly for Coastside residents, including expanding our existing network of shuttle buses and working closely with SamTrans, CalTrain, BART, and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to offer additional options.

10. Carefully examine the District's role in hosting the Regional Public Safety Training Center (“Police Academy”) and conduct a similar review of the District's own Public Safety Department, ensuring that their policies and procedures conform to what we expect and the values we hold as a community in terms of de-escalation of force, mental health crisis intervention training, no use of choke holds, officer intervention to stop inappropriate conduct, and addressing the issues of racial bias and systemic injustice. This is necessary in order to create the safest environment possible for our students, staff, and members of our community.

These are the top priority items that I hope to address if I am fortunate enough to be re-elected to serve for another term. 

I had a similar 10-Point Plan when I ran for re-election in 2015. Here's my Self-Assessment and Report Card on how I did in terms of accomplishing those goals.

Mandelkern for Community College Board 2020 FPPC ID#1428322
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