By JOSH FRIEDMAN
Disgruntled parents have launched an effort to recall three Lucia Mar Unified School District trustees over allegedly taking too long to reopen campuses.
Lucia Mar students returned to campus in a hybrid learning model in late February and early March. Parents seeking a recall of trustees argue the hybrid model should have taken effect much earlier, and the Lucia Mar school board should have sought a return to in-person learning as soon as state guidelines allowed for it. Had the district applied for a waiver like some private schools did, Lucia Mar students may have been able to return to in-person learning sooner.
Proponents of the recall are targeting trustees Colleen Martin, Dee Santos and Don Stewart. Backers of the recall will need to collect 8,302 valid signatures from district voters in order to trigger an election.
On Tuesday, parents gathered outside the Lucia Mar school board office to protest the board’s handling of the return of students to district campuses. Disgruntled parents said the board’s actions are to blame for students’ poor grades, and they have created a system of “haves and have nots.”
The “haves” placed their children in private schools, while the children of “have nots” have fallen behind, parent Sandra Bocchicchio said.
District officials released a statement acknowledging the recall effort:
“The district became aware on Friday, April 30, 2021, that three LMUSD trustees, Colleen Martin, Dee Santos, and Don Stewart had received a Notice of Intent to Circulate a Recall Petition. As a public institution, we serve a parent and student population with diverse opinions on the issue of the timeline for school reopening. In its public meetings on the subject, the board has taken into account the safety of students and employees and followed all public health guidelines. Members of the public who are dissatisfied with the decisions of its elected officials have a right to seek to recall elected officeholders,” the district said in the statement.
A recall election could cost approximately $350,000, with the money coming from the district’s general fund, according to Lucia Mar officials.