UPDATE: San Francisco Voters Recall 3 Embattled School Board Members
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- In a special election, residents in San Francisco voted overwhelmingly to recall three school board members on Tuesday.
On the ballot was the recall of Alison Collins, Faauuga Moliga and Gabriella Lopez.
This is the city's first recall election since 1983. Only about 25-percent of people cast their ballots in early voting, a somewhat low voter turnout for an election that could drastically change the city's school board.
"Every vote counts and I, myself, am a San Francisco native. I've seen this city change so much, so I definitely want my voice to be heard," said San Francisco voter Derrick Ly.
The question voters had to answer was whether to recall the embattled trio after proponents say the board failed students during the pandemic by focusing on the idea of renaming schools instead of plans to bring students back to class and changing the admissions policy at Lowell High School from merit based to a lottery.
"They are so egregiously incompetent," says Paulina Fayer, who supports the recall. "We need to get them out now, and we have. The voters have spoken."
The school board has seven members but only three were eligible to be recalled. By 9 p.m. on Tuesday night, it was apparent that all three candidates had lost.
But opponents say this was all a power grab, with funding from millionaires and billionaires looking to privatize public schools.
"This recall has not been about making sure all voices are being heard," said Julie Roberts-Phung of No School Board Recalls.
They believe this entire exercise was a waste of time and money because the board members were up for re-election in November anyway, and if the three board members are recalled, Mayor London Breed will appoint their replacements.
Parents say their priority is simply to be heard by whoever is on the board moving forward.
"What I'm hoping will happen tonight is that parents come more into the conversation when it comes to what the students are doing in school," saud voter Jimmy Burnus.
Tuesday evening, Mayor London Breed released the following statement:
"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. I want to recognize all the parents who tirelessly organized and advocated in the last year. Elections can be difficult, but these parents were fighting for what matters most – their children. The days ahead for our public schools will not be easy."
"Our kids have suffered tremendously during this pandemic, dealing with serious learning loss and significant mental health challenges. It's time we refocus our efforts on the basics of providing quality education for all students, while more broadly improving how this City delivers support for children and families."
Supervisor Scott Weiner, the first elected official to openly endorse the recall also released a statement:
"Today San Franciscans made a clear statement: We need a Board of Education focused like a laser on stabilizing our schools, keeping them open, and supporting students and families in the most effective possible way."
Lopez, Collins and Moliga were the only board members on the ballot they were the only ones eligible for recall due to time served on the board.
Out of about a half million registered voters, nearly 120,000 vote-by-mail ballots were cast.
The cost of the special election was $3.2 million dollars.
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