An effort to unseat three members of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District's Board of Education has failed after a parent group seeking to launch a recall election did not turn in a petition with an adequate number of signatures from voters before the deadline.
Recall proponents did not respond to requests for comment, but all three targeted board members confirmed that the recall effort did not proceed past the signature-gathering phase. It remains unclear whether the petitioners simply did not gather enough signatures to qualify or opted not to file for other reasons.
"I am looking forward to the new school year and will continue to focus my energy on helping our wonderful school district provide a smooth transition to full-time in-person learning for our students and supporting our dedicated staff," Board President Susanna Wong Ordway said when asked about the failed recall effort.
The petition drive was first launched in January, after a group of parents wanted to oust Ordway and fellow board members Rachel Hurd and Ken Mintz for their decision-making during the coronavirus pandemic. Petitioners said at the time that they would have pursued removal of first-year board members Laura Bratt and Shelley Clark too, but state law prohibited it since those two were newly elected in November.
Recall backers said they represented a group of parents who were outraged at the district's decision to remain with remote learning during the pandemic, claiming that it went against what was best for their children's education and emotional well-being.They continued with the recall effort even after students began returning to in-person learning.
However, Mintz said that on May 28 he was informed by the Contra Costa County Elections Division that signatures for the petition to recall had not been delivered by the deadline on that day.
Board members who were targeted had expressed a certain amount of disappointment and frustration at the recall effort, saying in March that their decision-making was largely guided by county and state health restrictions that mandated remote learning.
"There seems to be a general misunderstanding of what decisions are directly within the school board's purview as opposed to the parameters that must be met to move forward," Mintz told DanvilleSanRamon.com in March. "SRVUSD is fully prepared to bring 7th-12th graders back; however, we can't do so until Contra Costa County case counts meet California Department of Public Health 'red tier' requirements, hopefully sometime in March given current trends."
"My objective has always been to provide families with options and then ultimately to have all of our students back to school as soon as it is safe to do so according to the requirements placed on us. My hope is that we as a community can work together to make sure we are putting our children's health and safety first," he added, a sentiment shared by his fellow board members at the time.