San Francisco Parent Anger Focuses on School Board Recall

Three board members face removal in campaign driven by frustration over school closure of more than a year.

  • Three San Francisco school board members could soon be recalled as the same voter focus on education that helped elect a Republican governor in Virginia earlier this month finds an outlet on the other side of the country, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  • School Board President Gabriela López and commissioners Alison Collins and Faauuga Moliga will face recall elections in February.
  • Supporters of the recall say that the board spent too much time on social justice issues during the Covid-19 pandemic and not enough on ending one of the nation’s longest suspensions of in-person learning.
  • More than 240 recalls have been launched against school board members in 2021, WSJ notes.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced her support for a recall of three of the seven members of the San Francisco Unified School District Board.

The campaign to recall the board members secured enough signatures in October. On Tuesday, the mayor said in a lengthy Facebook post that parents were voicing “normal, commonplace frustrations” and that the school board’s priorities had been misplaced.

“Our School District is in a dire fiscal situation,” she said. “Our kids have fallen behind after spending more than a year out of the classroom. Sadly, our School Board’s priorities have often been severely misplaced.”

One of the issues parents complained about is that while schools remained closed for in-person learning during much of the coronavirus pandemic, the school board dedicated time voting to rename 44 buildings in the district.

Breed said the recall effort was a “grassroots effort” and that parents had reasonable concerns.

“Their kids have fallen far behind in their education, and they are breaking down from the mental health challenges of a pandemic, exacerbated by chaos in our public school system,” she said. “And parents feel members of the Board aren’t listening to them, prioritizing their kids in the classroom or trying to solve these immense problems.”

Many of these recall efforts have been described by analysts as Republican-led efforts to push back against liberal school board policies. Some analysts also credited the focus on education as fueling Republican victories in the 2021 off-year election cycle.

The three San Francisco board members up for recall were described as “liberals” by the San Francisco Chronicle . If the recall on Feb. 15, 2022, is successful, Breed, a Democrat, will appoint their successors until the next election in November. It will also be the first recall in San Francisco since 1983, according to the report.