By JOSH FRIEDMAN
The effort to recall three trustees serving on the Lucia Mar Unified School District Board of Education failed to qualify for the ballot after backers of the initiative did not gather the minimum number of required signatures.
Central Coast Families for Education Reform, which organized the recall effort, attempted to oust trustees Colleen Martin, Dee Santos and Don Stewart from the Lucia Mar school board. Recall backers argued the school board did not allow students to return to in-person instruction soon enough once COVID-19 protocols allowed for campuses to reopen. Board members were also to blame for students’ poor grades, supporters of the recall argued.
Backers of the recall needed to collect 8,302 valid signatures from district voters over a period of 160 days in order to trigger an election. They failed to reach that threshold.
Over the course of the recall effort, individuals supporting the initiative clashed over various issues related to the school district. Additionally, the recall effort courted controversy when protesters gathered outside Trustee Martin’s home.
Following the announced failure by recall supporters to gather enough signatures, trustees Martin, Santos and Stewart released a statement calling the effort to oust them a distraction.
“Despite the distraction of the recall effort and protests at our homes, our priority as trustees has always focused on learning, student success and the health and safety of our students and staff. Those principles will continue to guide every decision we make as an elected board of education,” Martin, Santos and Stewart said in the statement.
Had the recall effort qualified for the ballot, an election could have cost approximately $350,000, district officials estimated.