How to Force a Recall Election for the SF School Board

It is difficult for children, especially young children, to learn over Zoom. It is more difficult to teach critical skills like learning to read and write over Zoom. As Heather Knight and others have noted, keeping children isolated has severe impacts on their mental health.

It is the Mayor's top priority to get children back in schools. It is inexcusable that the San Francisco School District Board has not gotten children back in schools. The children who are most harmed by this failure are low income children in the Southeastern neighborhoods. Every single candidate for School Board last fall highlighted the importance of equity but has been unwilling to do what it takes to reduce inequality on this issue, the biggest one they will face while elected - get children back in schools so they can learn to read.

Even if you are not a parent, you should be interested in this issue. Who is going to want to move to San Francisco if the school system is not interested in educating students? If I had school age kids I would be looking for anything to get my kids back in school and doing things that are normal for kids to do. Keeping kids at home is not good for the community.

There are seven members on the SFUSD School Board. Four Board members were just elected in November and cannot be recalled until May 3, 2021. The other three can be recalled immediately. To force a recall election, you need to collect the signatures of 10% of the city's voters, around 51,000 votes.

Every recall election has signatures thrown out because they are signed by people who aren't residents or signatures or addresses don't match. So you probably need to collect twice as many signatures - around 95,000 signatures. There are about 515,000 voters in San Francisco, and around 100,000 parents of students in the SFUSD school system.

You can either get volunteers to collect signatures door to door or pay signature collectors about $8 to $15 per signature, or a mix of both. So you are looking at around $76,000 to $1,400,000 for a fully professional recall campaign. I can get you in touch with people who can collect signatures.

That said, you may not need to collect all the signatures. The goal is to put political pressure on the Board. The threat of a recall election was enough to get Gavin Newsom to change his behavior, and it may be enough here as well.

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