SF Unified school board recall election is set, debate continues

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ByKate Larsen KGO logo
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
SF school board recall election is set, debate continues
After a year filled with high-stakes controversy, three San Francisco school board members will officially face a recall vote.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- After a year filled with high-stakes controversy, three San Francisco school board members will officially face a recall vote.

Fed up with distance learning, which left his oldest son suffering from depression, SFUSD parent Siva Raj, helped launch a campaign to recall the district's school board.

"So many kids have fallen so far behind," said Raj, who continued, "and throughout all of this, we saw the school board basically sit back and practically do nothing to help the situation. In fact, if anything, spend the time and energy doing political gimmicky stuff like renaming schools and not focus on the practical things that matter to our parents and community."

Six months and 240,000 signatures later, the petitions to recall Board of Education members Alison Collins, Gabriela López, and Faauuga Moliga are certified. The special election will be held on February 15, 2022.

VIDEO: Factual inaccuracies found in the research behind renaming SF schools

The School Names Advisory Committee advises the school board on which schools meet criteria for a name change. Apparently, in some cases, the committee got their facts wrong.

"It's kind of the one bright shining ray of hope in a school district that's been struggling to cope with crisis after crisis over the last year," said Raj.

"There's always multiple narratives," said Frank Lara, the executive vice president of United Educators of San Francisco, the union that used to represent Lopez, Collins, and Moliga when they were teachers. He says the recall is anti-democratic.

"It continues for us to distract from the very real need in education right now, which is dealing with massive resignations, and lack of pay, students really needing social-emotional support."

But a 20-year SFUSD teacher, who did not want to be identified for fear of school board retribution, is now upset with the union because he says he never received a survey about teachers' thoughts on the recall.

"There are so many teachers and administrators who are definitely in support of this recall," he said and explained that he continues to be dissatisfied with the board's management of the district. "Utter and complete chaos. I didn't even receive my air purifier in the classroom until two months after school started."

Lara said UESF "passed a resolution that opposed the recall at the General Assembly, which is an elected membership body of over 100 members representing their school sites."

As of publishing time, Collins and Lopez have not returned ABC7's request for comment.

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In a statement, Moliga said, "The attempt to recall me is motivated by politics, not education policy. This election process will bring those motives to light, and I am looking forward to that discussion."