Parents and residents of San Francisco overwhelmingly voted to recall three school board members in the city’s first recall election since 1983.
Alison Collins, Faauuga Moliga and Gabriella Lopez all lost their positions on the governing body, as the “Yes” option to the recall question gained more than 70 percent in all three cases.
Critics of the school board argued the leaders were focused on politics rather than on the success of students in the district. For example, during the coronavirus pandemic, the individuals voted to rename 44 schools named after historical individuals, only to pause the effort after intense backlash.
“The San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education has made itself into a national laughingstock. Facing a COVID pandemic, declining enrollment and a budget deficit that put the district at risk of a state takeover, school board commissioners embarked on a quixotic crusade to strip the names of leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Dianne Feinstein from schools. Ignoring the basics of the job, they put political grandstanding ahead of progress for children,” read an editorial piece by The San Francisco Examiner Editorial Board.
“These antics garnered national attention, transforming the board into a caricature of comically backward priorities. Instead of tackling urgent problems, the board indulged in performative activism and other controversial projects, like ending merit-based admission at Lowell High School.”
Over the past two years, approximately 3,500 students have left the school district, which could result in a loss of $35 million in funding.
On top of the enrollment concerns, the board has struggled with budget deficits. In December, the group approved a plan to address the issues, leading to $90 million in expenditure reductions.
“The voters of this city have delivered a clear message that the School Board must focus on the essentials of delivering a well-run school system above all else. San Francisco is a city that believes in the value of big ideas, but those ideas must be built on the foundation of a government that does the essentials well,” said Mayor London Breed, who will appoint board replacements.
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Cooper Moran is a reporter for The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Gabriela López” by Gabriela López, Commissioner, SF Board of Education. Photo “Fotualii Faauuga Moliga-Puletasi” by Fotualii Faauuga Moliga-Puletasi. Photo “Alison Collins” by Alison Collins 高勵思 for School Board. Background Photo “Lowell High School” by Blackjack48.