Three San Francisco Board of Education commissioners will face a recall election in February, after local election officials last week certified petitions submitted by recall organizers.
The three petitions seek to remove Commissioner Alison Collins, as well as board President Gabriela Lopez and board Vice President Faauuga Moliga.
The special election is set to happen Feb. 15, 2022, San Francisco Department of Elections officials said Monday.
“We did it!” Recall the SF School Board, one of the recall effort’s organizers, posted on Twitter. “A grassroot community of over 1,000 parents, teachers, and residents made SF history today!”
WE DID IT— Recall SF School Board (@recallsfboe) October 18, 2021
The school board recall qualified for the ballot!!!
The election to recall Commissioners Lopez, Collins & Moliga is scheduled for Feb 15, 2022.
A grassroots community of over 1000 parents, teachers and residents made SF history today!https://t.co/eCxVxkTQF8
The board and its members have faced scrutiny in recent times over a handful of occurrences, including the prolonged closure of public schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year, while San Francisco Unified School District classrooms remained closed, the board was heavily criticized by parents, as well as city leaders, for voting to rename 44 district schools that bore the name of people found to be slaveowners, subjugators of indigenous people, or responsible for racist, sexist or other offensive conduct. The board ultimately voted to rescind the decision.
Additionally, frustrated that schools remained closed, in March the city sued the school district and the board, seeking an injunction to force schools to reopen. A judge, however, denied the city’s request.
Also, in April, commissioner Collins was removed as the board’s vice president after Twitter comments resurfaced that Collins made in 2016 that demeaned Asian Americans. Although Collins apologized, the resurfaced comments were met with outrage and calls from parents, fellow commissioners and city leaders for Collins to step down.
Soon after, Collins filed a lawsuit against the school district and five of her fellow commissioners, alleging the commissioners violated her First Amendment rights. The suit, which sought $87 million in damages, was later dropped by Collins.
Teacher union opposes recall
The recall election comes as the district recently announced it was facing a projected budget deficit of over $100 million.
According to the United Educators of San Francisco, the labor union which represents district teachers, the election could cost as much as $8 million.
“As educators who love our communities and care for our students, we are urging voters to reject this recall. The recall will waste precious resources when decision-makers need to be laser-focused on meeting the needs of our students,” UESF President Cassondra Curiel said in a statement.
“The recall undermines the voices of parents and voters about who should represent them on the Board of Education. It makes the mayor the sole decision-maker about who should sit on the board.”