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I just heard back from school board member Mitz Lee, who couldn’t make it to mayoral candidate Steve Francis’ press conference on education today, but wanted to offer her endorsement.

“I really concentrate on the issue of vision on education,” Lee said. “I have not heard Jerry (Sanders) on that.”

Lee called Francis’ education plans “visionary,” and was enthusiastic about replicating San Francisco’s partnership between the mayor and the school district, which has helped San Francisco Unified weather budget cuts. Francis’ plan would provide a smaller windfall for schools than the San Francisco concept, but Lee called it “a good first step” and a realistic goal given the economic downturn.

The trustee also wanted to see schools and the city cooperate to share facilities, making school buildings more accessible to the community and city parks and facilities more accessible to schools.

“You cannot separate the two — the quality of life issue, and caring about what happens to your neighborhood school,” Lee said.

EMILY ALPERT

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