A group of about 950 parents in southern San Luis Obispo County has launched an effort to recall three members of the seven-member Lucia Mar Unified School District Board of Trustees.
Members of Central Coast Families for Education Reform announced their petition outside the closed doors of Lucia Mar Council Chambers on Orchard Street where some of the trustees were hosting a virtual meeting with the rest of the council on Tuesday evening.
The recall is for Don Stewart, currently Chairman of the Board, who represents Trust Area 4 and whose term expires in 2024; Colleen Martin, Vice Chair of the Board, who represents Trust Area 2 and whose term expires in 2022; and Dee Santos, who also represents Trust Area 4 and whose term expires in 2024.
The group has 160 days to gather 8,500 valid signatures to force a recall vote, but Shannon Galvan, the group’s president, said it is aiming for 10,000 signatures.
According to the group’s website, Stewart, Martin and Santos failed in their duty to serve students and taxpayers in the district, including failing to open schools on time and allowing failing grades to rise dramatically.
The band also takes issue with inappropriate “partisan political comments” made by the three at various board meetings, and excerpts of some of their comments are posted on the band’s website.
With a seven-member board, three votes wouldn’t be the majority of the full board required to make decisions, but Galvan explained why the recall effort isn’t focusing on four or more.
“We start with the three board members who made the most derogatory comments and who were the least bipartisan,” Galvan said. “Our group has a rapport with some of the remaining board members, and we believe that if we can replace the other three offending board members, we can make real change going forward.”
Among the actions cited by the group as reasons for the recall are alleged violations of the state’s Ralph M. Brown Act and the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act by not allowing public comments via email until March. to September 2020.
Members of the group noted that four other school district boards in SLO County hold meetings open to the public or allow parents to provide live, in-person public comment, but Lucia Mar refuses to allow parents to comment.
The group says that while California Department of Public Health guidelines allowed a return to athletics beginning August 3, 2020, administrators at Lucia Mar did not allow athletes to return to limited conditioning until August 3, 2020. October 5, 2020.
While schools could open in a hybrid format on October 6, 2020, after SLO County first entered the state’s red tier, the school board failed to act and missed the opening window. opportunity when the county fell back into the purple tier, preventing schools from reopening until March of this year.
Elementary schools could still open in the purple tier by getting a waiver, but administrators at Lucia Mar refused to request a waiver, even though the Public Health Department encouraged schools to do so, according to the group.
State guidelines updated in March allow schools to open full-time, but the group says Lucia Mar intends to wait five more months for full-time reopening in August, leaving full-time in-person tuition-free students for 17 months.
The group also cites students’ declining academic performance, saying the number of ‘F’ grades increased by 185% in the first term, with high school ‘F’ grades still increasing by 155% during the semester despite efforts. attenuation.