California school board recall petition approved for circulation

A petition to recall John Crabtree from his position as president and Trustee Area 4 representative of the Visalia Unified School District Board of Education in California was approved for circulation in August 2020. Recall supporters must collect 2,411 signatures by November 18, 2020, to get the recall on the ballot.

The effort began in June 2020. Recall supporters listed the district’s budget deficit, the board’s decision not to build a fifth high school, and Crabtree’s allegedly negligent leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic as reasons for the recall effort.

Crabtree responded by saying that the district would not have a deficit if new student projections proved accurate, that the high school plan was canceled in the design phase due to cost increases, and that it was difficult for the district to build a virtual program from scratch at the end of the school year in response to the pandemic.

Crabtree was elected to the board in November 2013 and re-elected in November 2018. His term is scheduled to expire on December 9, 2022.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

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