3 San Francisco school board Democrats to face recall election Tuesday

3 San Francisco school board Democrats to face recall election Tuesday

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

San Francisco voters will head to the polls Tuesday to decide whether to recall three Democrats on the city’s school board who have been embroiled in controversy over the last year. 

The recall effort was sparked by frustrations that the board wasn’t prioritizing getting students back into classrooms during the coronavirus pandemic, choosing instead to focus on changing the names of schools from historical figures deemed to have contributed to racism. The research into dropping names like Sen. Dianne Feinstein and President Abraham Lincoln from schools was seen as shoddy, rushed and full of historical inaccuracies. The board later dropped the effort. 

“It was so poorly executed that it made a mockery of the broader push for historical reckoning in the United States,” the San Francisco Chronicle said in an editorial endorsing the recall. “It alienated instead of educated, and invited national ridicule.”

San Francisco school board Commissioner Alison Collins speaks during a rally at school district headquarters in San Francisco, March 31, 2021.

San Francisco school board Commissioner Alison Collins speaks during a rally at school district headquarters in San Francisco, March 31, 2021. (Getty Images)

Only three of the board’s seven members have served long enough to be eligible for a recall: Board President Gabriela Lopez and two commissioners, Alison Collins and Faauuga Moliga. All three are Democrats. 

SAN FRANCISCO SCHOOL BOARD STRIPS VP’S TITLE AFTER ANTI-ASIAN TWEETS SURFACE 

A pedestrian walks past a San Francisco Unified School District office building in San Francisco, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. 

A pedestrian walks past a San Francisco Unified School District office building in San Francisco, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022.  (Associated Press)

If any or all of them are recalled, Mayor London Breed will appoint their replacements. 

“Sadly, our school board’s priorities have often been severely misplaced,” Breed said in her endorsement of the recall. “Our kids must come first.”

End of merit admissions?

The board was also criticized for ending merit-based admissions for the city’s elite Lowell High School in an effort to make the student body more diverse. The school is majority Asian and some Asian-American families saw the decision as a direct attack. 

“It is so apparent that the sole purpose is that there’s too many Asians at Lowell,” mother Ann Hsu said. A court later reversed the decision. 

Collins, who has faced criticism over past tweets in which she claimed Asian Americans use “White supremacist” thinking to get ahead and have been racist toward Black students, defended the board’s decision on Lowell, saying they had “desegregated” a school. She was stripped of her role as vice president over the tweets.

A pedestrian walks below a sign for Dianne Feinstein Elementary School in San Francisco on Dec. 17, 2020. The city's school board sought to rename 44 public schools they said honored public figures linked to racism, sexism and injustice. 

A pedestrian walks below a sign for Dianne Feinstein Elementary School in San Francisco on Dec. 17, 2020. The city’s school board sought to rename 44 public schools they said honored public figures linked to racism, sexism and injustice.  (Associated Press)

But the recall’s focus remains on the board not prioritizing school reopenings and a $125 million budget shortfall, according to FOX 2 in the Bay Area. 

‘It comes down to incompetence’

Most of San Francisco’s 50,000 public school students did not see the inside of a classroom for over a year, from March 2020 until August 2021.

“It comes down to incompetence,” said Siva Raj, a father of two who helped spearhead the recall effort. “The message we want to send is, if you don’t do the job you are elected do — your primary responsibility is to educate our children — you’re fired.”

Opponents of the recall have said it’s part of a national effort by conservatives to oust liberals from power and that it’s a waste of taxpayer money when the normal election would be in November. 

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“People want us to say we were wrong, we regret doing what we did, we’re sorry. And that will never be something I will do,” Lopez said recently on a local podcast, Latina Latino Latinx News.

Julie Roberts-Phung, who helped organize a campaign against the recall, told FOX 2: “Having an election in an unusual time will mean that fewer San Franciscans will have their voices heard.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.