Voters overwhelmingly recalled three leftist San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education members in a landslide election, following several years of controversy that received national attention.
Board member Allison Collins was ousted when 78.54% of voters said “yes” to removing her from office. Board members Gabriela López and Faauuga Moliga lost with similar large majorities voting “yes” to the recall, 74.89% and 72.04%, respectively.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed will appoint replacements for the three, with the new board members finishing their terms in January 2023. They will be up for re-election in November 2022 to serve another term.
Siva Raj and Autumn Looijen were the driving force behind the initiative, as National Review reported in March 2021. Both of them have children in the district and were frustrated, during the COVID-19 school closures, when the board focused on issues besides reopening schools.
Raj and Looijen formed the organization “Recall SF School Board,” which tapped into anger from parents across the city.
The organization developed a website, a private Facebook page with 1,400 members and a Twitter account with 3,115 followers. More than 1,000 volunteers gathered 80,000 signatures to place the recall measure on the ballot.
Groups supporting the recall raised more than $1.9 million, while opponents, who backed the three board members, raised a little over $86,000.
Raj was especially concerned because the school board was fiddling around while students were struggling with long-distance instruction. He watched a February 2021 board meeting where, “The board spent most of its time on topics such as racial diversity at a highly selective, top-performing magnet school, and whether a gay white dad was ‘diverse’ enough for a volunteer parent committee made up exclusively of women.”
Instead of concentrating on reopening schools, the board felt that it was important to rename 44 local schools, including those honoring George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Louis Stevenson, Paul Revere and Francis Scott Key.
“Recall SF School Board” listed other problems with the district, including:
- Enrollment dropped as families fled the district. This cost us millions in state funding.
- Our board has not acknowledged the 1.5 years of learning loss, let alone come up with plans to address it.
- Our most disadvantaged kids fell farthest behind.
- Our budget deficit doubled to $125M+ under this board’s leadership.
- Alison Collins made anti-Asian tweets and sued our schools for $87 million. López stood with Collins and supported her lawsuit.
School board recalls across the nation hit a peak in 2021, as parents and students struggled with school closures, social distancing requirements, mask mandates and vaccine requirements. Ballotpedia tracked more than 92 recall efforts in 2021, targeting more than 237 school board members.
Five other California school districts still have recalls underway.
In addition, the school shutdowns and distance learning caused many parents to learn about – and become deeply concerned with – radical political and sexual curriculums and resources in schools. For the first time, many parents learned about critical race theory, comprehensive sex education and transgender ideology being taught to their children.
Photo from Facebook.