Recall Simplified: Process, Resources, and Budget

It’s an effective way to remove trustee who fail their fiduciary duty to student’s best interest

Following publication of Recall to Resignation, many community members requested additional information on the recall process as it relates to their school board members. We have learned that each group is at a different stage with different competencies, resources, and socio-demographics. The good news that the process to recall a school board member is similar and consistent across California. It is governed by state and local laws.

Why Recall is Effective Short Term and Long Term?

Recall is an effective short-term and long-term process to remove and replace union supported trustees with an independent school board member to make decisions with the best interest of students, taxpayers, and community members at large. Recall is a legal process to potentially elect a trustee who is an advocate for students and their families.

Due to 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 has become a pivotal year where parents are more informed of school system politics and power structure. Parents are awakened to how the teachers’ unions hinder the education system, the well-being of students, as well as compromise good teachers.

The customer in the school system is the student. Taxpayer funds shall support programs, services, and products to serve student best interest. The Teacher’s Union in merely a vendor or an employment agency to the school district, however, in school districts where the union-control the boards of trustees, decisions are made for the best interest of the union.

Identify union trustees in your school district to make recall more effective.

Now is the time to shift this paradigm. Now is the time to take control of our school boards. Now we need champion for students.

Recall Guide

For purposes of illustration, the process used in San Diego County to recall San Dieguito Union High School Trustee, Area 5 is provided www.recallgibson.com. The process in each county in California is similar.

  1. Contact the Registrar of Voters (ROV) in your county
  1. Recruit volunteers to help. It is the only way to succeed! Protect volunteers who prefer to keep their name confidential, sometimes there is a fear of retaliation. Anyone within the district or outside can help. Ask help to
    • Filling out the forms
    • Collecting signatures
    • Informing community members
    • Managing FB page
    • Building a website
    • Post the flyers
    • Writing articles
    • Communicating with the media
  1. Prepare 3-5 points to support the recall. Why are you recalling your elected official? Review Recall to Resignation article to make a strong argument.
    • Failing fiduciary duty to protect and serve students, Title IX issues
    • Fiscal mismanagement and/or CARES funds misallocation https://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/cr/learningloss.asp#application
    • Depriving students from unequal access to education
    • Detrimental impact on student’s well-being
    • Conflict of Interest with the teachers’ union
    • Fail to support re-opening schools when it was safe to do so
    •  Failing their fiduciary duty as a board member
    • Other issues unique to your community
  1. Find supporting documents for each of the claims.
    • Use your elected official’s voting record and statements during board meetings and other publicly available information to prove your claim.
    • Request public records from the school district. School districts are publicly funded and as a result, their records are available upon request.
    • Research campaign financing filings. This public information should be available at the Registrar of Voters website in your county.
      • If you live in San Diego County, here is a link to the ROV website. https://www.sdvote.com/content/rov/en/candidates-campaigns/EFDS.html . Use the public portal to search by candidate name and the name of the teachers’ union to find the political action committees. Find out who funded your candidate and who the union supported financially either through cash donations or in-kind donations such as advertising and promotion.
    • Use Board meeting minutes and view video (if available) to support your point(s).
    • Leverage your network such as teachers and staff to help you with gather information on union tactics.
  1. Prepare A NOTICE OF INTENTION TO CIRCULATE RECALL PETITION, use Exhibit A from the ROV template. You will need:
    • Summary of the reasons supporting the recall initiative It is limited to 200 words
    • At least 10 signers supporting the recall, who are called as “proponents.”
    • Send the document for ROV review before officially submitting it
    • Serve the trustee in-person or send via certified mail (we did both)
    • Send in certified mail to the ROV office
    • Publish the Recall Initiative in a local newspaper or post flyers in 3 locations within the district
    • See for complete instructions on how to prepare this document can be found in the Procedures for Recalling State and Local Officials (Exhibit A). See How to Prepare a Notice of Intention to Circulate Recall Petition Guide Attachment 4.
    • The Trustee being recalled has 10 days to respond with a rebuttal, which eventually will be included in the formal recall forms.
  1. Activities while waiting for Recall Initiative to be approved:
    • Buy the registered voters database or listings from ROV
    • Build a website or Facebook page or group (easier)
    • Upload the emails of the Registered Voters into the FB page
    • Upload the emails to a newsletter on your website
    • Prepare official forms for Recall Petition
  1. Is Your Recall Initiative approved? Is your official forms are ready for submission?
    • Exhibit D set up should match Exhibit A (font, size and margins)
    • Include proponent position
    • Include opponent position
    • Make sure the form size serves your community
      • If most community members have printers at home, use standard page size, 8 by 11
      • If most community members have no printers, use bigger page size like 8 by 14

If one of the districts has predominantly underserved population, then, reach out to them through their churches, supermarkets, and their community influencers. Many live in clusters and easier to collect signatures. All recall petition signers must be registered to vote, provide printed name and full address and signature and live in the school board members area or district. When you get to this stage, a full strategic and action plan will be required.

How Much It May Cost? 

Some funds will be required from around $250 to $1000 depends on your community and resources available. Here are some expanses to consider, which most are optional but can make recall effort effective.

  • Certified mail ($20.00 to $60.00)
  • Recall Initiative Forms Print ($free to $20.00)
  • ROV Registered Voters database/listings ($35.00 – $50.00)
  • Print outs for the Official Recall forms (depends on the paper size and number of community members)
  • Website ($200-$500)
  • Newsletter (Free- $150 a month)
  • Facebook Page or Group (Free)

If you do not have the funds, reach out to your local political party, preferably the Republican Party. In addition, there are non-profit organization, churches, and foundations to help fund the recall process.

We have tried our best to provide as much details as needed to start the process.

If you need more help, please reach out to us, we can help you navigate.

Good luck with your efforts,

Lea