Election 2020: School Board candidates answer Berkeleyside questions

Meet your Berkeley School Board candidates in Berkeley’s November 2020 election: Laura Babitt, Jose Luis Bedolla, Esfandiar Imani, Michael Chang and Ana Vasudeo.

five Berkeley School Board candidates
Berkeley School Board candidates (from left to right in ballot order): Laura Babitt, Jose Luis Bedolla, Esfandiar Imani, Mike Chang and Ana Vasudeo. One candidate, Norma J F Harrison, did not respond to Berkeleyside inquiries. Photos: Courtesy

Berkeleyside wants to help you get to know your 2020 candidates for Berkeley City Council, School Board and Rent Stabilization Board. Today’s focus is the candidates for School Board.

We asked candidates why they were running, what sets them apart, what they see as the school district’s biggest challenges and how they might work to solve them. Learn what each candidate thinks is his or her most inspired idea, and how each candidate plans to be accountable and accessible to constituents. Each questionnaire includes complete campaign info, including social media pages, to help readers connect.

Six people — none of them incumbents — are running for the School Board seats occupied by Beatriz Leyva-Cutler since 2008 and by Judy Appel since 2012. In ballot order, the candidates are Laura Babitt, parent, financial auditor; Jose Luis Bedolla, nonprofit CEO; Norma J F Harrison, community volunteer; Esfandiar Imani, risk management consultant; Michael Chang, education law attorney; and Ana Vasudeo, schools transportation planner. (Harrison did not respond to inquiries from Berkeleyside, but her candidate Q&A from 2018 is available here.) Click the following links to read our questionnaires with the School Board candidates.

Berkeley School Board candidate Q&As

Hungry for more? Watch the candidates for Berkeley School Board in a forum presented Sept. 24 by the League of Women Voters of Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville.


Upcoming Berkeley School Board candidate events

  • Tuesday, Oct. 6, 7-8 p.m. Berkeley School Board forum presented by Thousand Oaks Neighborhood Association (TONA). Register to receive the Zoom link.

In the coming weeks, we’ll have more stories on the key Berkeley races and ballot initiatives to help readers make informed decisions about the potential leaders and policies that could help shape Berkeley’s future.

The deadline to register to vote online or by mail in Alameda County is Oct. 19, and the election is Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

Other Berkeley election 2020 resources

See complete 2020 election coverage on Berkeleyside. Read all the 2020 candidate statements for Berkeley.