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San Francisco voters recall three members of city’s school board

San Francisco residents recalled three members of the city’s school board Tuesday for what critics called misplaced priorities and putting their personal politics over the needs of children during the pandemic. 

Voters emphatically approved the recall in a special election, according to tallies by the San Francisco Department of Elections.

 “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,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “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.”

The special election was the first recall in San Francisco since 1983, which was a failed attempt to remove then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein. Mayor London Breed will appoint interim replacements for the three.

Parents launched the recall effort in January 2021, which was borne out of frustration over the slow reopening of district schools, while the board pursued the renaming of 44 school sites and the elimination of competitive admissions at the elite Lowell High School.

Organizers said they would recall all seven board members if they were allowed, but only three were eligible to be recalled: board President Gabriela López, Vice President Faauuga Moliga and Commissioner Alison Collins. All seven are Democrats.

According to CBS San Francisco, Breed said in a statement that voters “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.”

CBS San Francisco reported that Supervisor Scott Weiner, the first elected official to openly endorse the recall, released a statement saying, “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.”

Recall organizers and many residents said the effort also tapped into a wider feeling of discontent in San Francisco, where rising crime and attacks on Asian Americans during the pandemic added to a perception of a city in turmoil.

“It seems to have catalyzed a broader general public awareness in San Francisco. Many people are seeing what’s happening in the school board as a reflection of a broader failure,” said Siva Raj, a father of two who helped launch the recall effort. “Here we are living in one of the wealthiest cities in the world and we are not getting the basics right.”

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: CBS LOCAL

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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