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SF school commissioners face 'recall fever' over COVID-19, other issues

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SF school commissioners face 'recall fever' over COVID-19, other issues
The board has been engulfed in controversy over the past year, which included COVID-19 restrictions, contentious Twitter posts and efforts to rename 44 schools. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Three San Francisco school board commissioners are facing a recall due to parents who are upset by COVID-19 restrictions and other issues -- a recall effort that the city's teachers union says will be a waste of nearly $10 million.

The recall was certified Monday night by the San Francisco Department of Elections. It targets board President Gabriela Lopez, Vice President Faauuga Moliga and former Vice President Alison Collins, and is scheduled to held in February.

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Parents have expressed their frustration with the board over reopening San Francisco schools, which took weeks longer than other major districts in California even though they all had comparable COVID-19 rates.

The board has also been engulfed in controversy over the past year, which included Collins being removed as vice president after contentious Twitter posts about Asian Americans and efforts to rename 44 schools.

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The recall effort in California's sixth-largest school district comes after voters statewide rejected the bid to remove Gov. Gavin Newsom from office last month. This year, there have already been more than 200 individual attempts to recall local school boards in California.

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"Recall fever is alive and well in San Francisco and voters are all in for this," Democratic strategist Katie Merrill told Politico. "They were mad, they were frustrated at the school board that shirked its responsibility during the pandemic, which is trying to get kids back at school."

Moliga said efforts to recall him have nothing to do with schools, and everything to do with gaining a political advantage.

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"The attempt to recall me is motivated by politics, not education policy," he told Politico. "This election process will bring those motives to light, and I am looking forward to that discussion."

If the recall is successful, San Francisco Mayor London Breed will appoint the new commissioners.

The union representing teachers in the city condemned the recall, saying that there's already an election scheduled for November 2022. The recall election, it says, would be a waste of millions of taxpayer dollars.

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"The recall will waste precious resources when decision-makers need to be laser-focused on meeting the needs of our students," United Educators of San Francisco President Cassondra Curiel said in a statement Monday.

"A successful recall ultimately results in mayoral control of the board of education, making it harder for families and the educators they entrust their children with every day to advocate for resources."

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