CategoryLocal

Ballotpedia’s mid-year recall report shows sustained interest in school board recall

In the first half of 2022, Ballotpedia tracked 152 recall efforts against 240 officials. These figures represent a small decline from 2021, when we tallied 165 recall efforts against 263 officials by midyear. In comparison, the highest number of recall efforts we have tracked by midyear was 189 in 2016. The lowest was 72 in 2019.

For the second year in a row, school board members drew more recall petitions than any other group. One-third of officials who faced recall campaigns in the first half of 2022 were school board members. City council members—the officials who drew the most efforts from 2016 to 2020—accounted for 32% of officials targeted for recall in 2022. 

For the first time since Ballotpedia started tracking this statistic in 2015, Michigan was the state with the most officials facing recall efforts in the first half of the year. Michigan saw 70 officials subject to a recall campaign, surpassing California, which had the most officials targeted for recall midway through the year from 2015 through 2021. 

In 2020, Ballotpedia began following recalls related to coronavirus and government responses to it. We have tallied 245 such efforts since 2020, including 27 efforts against 66 officials in the first half of 2022.

In this report, Ballotpedia also highlighted five noteworthy recall campaigns: the effort against Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D), the effort against San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin (D), the effort against County Commissioner William Bunek (R) in Leelanau County, Michigan, and the efforts against members of the San Francisco school board in California and the Newberg school board in Oregon.

Additional reading:



San Francisco voters recall District Attorney Chesa Boudin

San Francisco voters recalled District Attorney Chesa Boudin on June 7, 2022. Mayor London Breed will appoint a temporary replacement, who will serve until voters elect a permanent district attorney in November.

Boudin was elected district attorney in 2019, defeating Suzy Loftus 50.8% to 49.2% in a ranked-choice voting election. Previously, Boudin served as deputy public defender in the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. He earned a bachelor’s and a law degree from Yale University and a master’s degree from Oxford University in England.

Supporters alleged Boudin’s approach to crime led to increased crime rates. Boudin said his goal had been reforming the criminal justice system and that the recall was politically motivated. In his statement of defense, Boudin said reform was needed because “the old approaches did not make us safer; they ignored root causes of crime and perpetuated mass incarceration.”

A group called San Franciscans for Public Safety started the recall effort on April 28, 2021. According to The San Francisco Examiner, the effort was led by a pair of Democratic activists “seeking to prevent the recall effort against District Attorney Chesa Boudin from being framed as a conservative power grab.” Organizers had until October 25, 2021, to gather a minimum of 51,325 signatures in order to qualify the recall for the ballot. Supporters submitted approximately 83,000 signatures. Director of Elections John Arntz announced on November 9, 2021, that there were enough valid signatures to put the recall election on the ballot.

The Notice of Intent that recall supporters published said, “Boudin is not keeping San Francisco safe. He refuses to adequately prosecute criminals and fails to take the drug dealing crisis seriously. He doesn’t hold serial offenders accountable, getting them released from custody, and his response to victims is that “hopefully” home burglaries will go down…Recalling someone shouldn’t be taken lightly, but San Francisco can’t wait two more years to improve public safety and fix our criminal justice system. Chesa Boudin must go — now.”

Boudin’s statement of defense said, “This is yet another recall relying on FALSE AND DISPROVEN REPUBLICAN talking points attempting to undo progress and take us backwards. Recalls are not political tools for people who lose elections. Voters thoughtfully and carefully elected DA Boudin because they support his work to reform an unjust system that too often criminalized poverty, addiction, and mental illness; failed to hold violent police accountable; and targeted people of color…DA Boudin is COMMITTED TO PUBLIC SAFETY, and to reforming the criminal justice system to provide safety, justice, and fairness for all San Franciscans.”

The San Franciscans for Public Safety’s recall effort was one of two initiated against Boudin in 2021. The first was started by Richie Greenberg, who previously ran for mayor as a Republican. The effort failed because organizers did not succeed in collecting 51,325 valid signatures by the deadline.

The Boudin recall was the second one to take place against a San Francisco elected official in 2022. In February, a majority of voters cast ballots in favor of recalling San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education members Gabriela López, Alison Collins, and Faauuga Moliga.

Before this year’s recall of San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education members, then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein was the last elected official in the city to face a recall election—in 1983. Feinstein survived the recall with 81% of the vote in her favor.

Additional reading:



Karen Bass, Rick Caruso advance to general in Los Angeles mayoral election

Karen Bass and Rick Caruso advanced from the nonpartisan primary for mayor of Los Angeles, California, on June 7, 2022. Since neither candidate received more than 50% of the vote, the two will participate in a November 8 general election. Incumbent Mayor Eric Garcetti could not run for re-election due to term limits. Since 1933, every open election for Los Angeles mayor has advanced to a general election.

At the time the race was called, Caruso had received 41% of the vote and Bass had received 38%.

The New York Times’ Jennifer Medina wrote that the race “has focused on voters’ worries about public safety and homelessness in the nation’s second-largest city” and could “become a test of whether voters this year favor an experienced politician who has spent nearly two decades in government or an outsider running on his business credentials.”

Speaking to Axios, Caruso Senior Advisor Peter Ragone said, “Los Angeles is in a crisis: Homeless, crime and corruption are uncontrolled. This is a moment for someone like Rick to come in and clean up City Hall.” Bass spokeswoman Anna Bahr said, “Voters have a choice in this race — between a billionaire real estate developer who has never built a single unit of affordable housing despite 50,000 people living on our streets, and a Black community organizer who has spent her life running toward this city’s crises and solving them.”

Regarding public safety, a Caruso campaign ad said, “As Police Commission president, [Caruso] took on city hall politicians and cut crime 30%. As mayor, Caruso won’t defund the police. He’ll invest in making L.A. safer with 1,500 new officers, increase youth crime prevention, and crack down on illegal guns and retail theft.”

Bass said she would invest in programs to address causes of crime, establish an Office of Community Safety “to develop a neighborhood-specific strategy to re-envision public safety, and ensure that the needs of individual communities are met,” and hire police officers and civilian workers in police departments to add 250 officers to patrol.

Caruso is the founder and chief executive officer of a retail complex development company. He also served on Los Angeles’ Department of Water and Power Commission, as the president of Los Angeles’ Police Commission, and on the USC Board of Trustees.

Bass was first elected to public office in 2004 to serve in the California State Assembly. She served in the Assembly from 2005 to 2010 and was speaker from 2008 to 2010. Bass was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and currently represents California’s 37th Congressional District.

Craig Greiwe, Alex Gruenenfelder, John Jackson, Andrew Kim, Gina Viola, Mel Wilson, and Kevin de León also ran in the primary. Joe Buscaino unofficially withdrew from the race on May 12 and endorsed Caruso, Mike Feuer unofficially withdrew on May 17 and endorsed Bass, and Ramit Varma unofficially withdrew on May 23 and endorsed Caruso. Buscaino, Feuer, and Varma still appeared on the primary ballot.

This is the first even-year election for Los Angeles mayor since the 2015 passage of Charter Amendment 1, which shifted city elections to even-numbered years beginning in 2020.



Hall Pass: Your Ticket to Understanding School Board Politics, Edition #16

Welcome to Hall Pass. This newsletter keeps you plugged into the conversations driving school board politics and governance. Each week, we bring you a roundup of the latest on school board elections, along with sharp commentary and research from across the political spectrum on the issues confronting school boards in the country’s 14,000 school districts. We’ll also bring you the latest on school board elections and recall efforts, including candidate filing deadlines and election results.

In today’s edition, you’ll find:

  • On the issues: The debate over school safety and how to prevent school shootings 
  • School board filing deadlines, election results, and recall certifications
  • How states fund public schools
  • Extracurricular: links from around the web 
  • Candidate Connection survey

Reply to this email to share reactions or story ideas!

On the issues

In this section, we curate reporting, analysis, and commentary on the issues school board members deliberate when they set out to offer the best education possible in their district.

The debate over armed safety officers in schools

Following the school shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teachers were shot and killed, politicians and commentators have proposed policies they say would make schools safer. Today, we look at the debate over proposals to post police or safety officers on school campuses at all times. 

David Feliciano writes trained law enforcement officers could have prevented the Sandy Hook and Robb Elementary shootings if they had been stationed at the schools. Feliciano says Democrats and Republicans are unlikely to agree on legislation restricting gun purchases but they might agree to federally fund armed safety officers for all schools.

Daniel Siegel writes additional security would not reduce school shootings. Siegel says posting police officers at schools would make schools feel like prisons and are insufficient substitutes for gun purchasing restrictions and additional funding for school counselors to meet mental health needs.

Opinion: As a superintendent and father, I believe there’s a simple solution to improve school safety | David Feliciano, The San Diego Union Tribune

“The best and simplest response [to school shootings], it seems to me, is to federally fund and deploy a school safety law enforcement officer to every public school in the U.S. An armed police officer is the one thing that could have made a tangible difference and possibly prevented the shootings at Sandy Hook and Robb elementary schools. The delayed police response at Robb Elementary only reinforces this point. More children may have died because law enforcement failed to engage the attacker in time. The attack ended when the police took action. When your house is on fire, you don’t set out to buy smoke detectors and upgrade your electrical systems. Rather, you get a fire hose and extinguish the flames. … A thoughtful and fully funded partnership with law enforcement is our best defense against the next school shooting. This, it seems to me, is something Democrats and Republicans could get behind.”

Opinion: ‘Hardening’ elementary schools isn’t the solution | Daniel Siegel, Detroit Free Press

“This time, rather than urging inaction in the wake of the senseless murders of 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School, it seems Second Amendment absolutists would prefer actions that would make our schools look even more like prisons, with more cops, more rules and more guns. … Instead of passing sensible gun reforms, these elected officials would prefer to further militarize our schools. … More police officers, armed teachers and prison-inspired reforms are not effective protection against outside intruders. After all, the officers who fired their weapons at the 18-year-old suspect before he entered Robb Elementary School on Tuesday failed to stop him. How many more good guys with guns would we need to protect every public school in Texas? We need more school counselors to help meet mental health needs, more training for school teachers and staff on how to spot red flags, and better lockdown drills and procedures to keep students safe.”

School board update: filing deadlines, election results, and recall certifications

Ballotpedia has historically covered school board elections in about 500 of the country’s largest districts. We’re gradually expanding the number we cover with our eye on all of the roughly 14,000 districts with elected school boards.

Election results from the past week

Districts in our scope in California held elections on June 7. Click the links below to see results. 

Upcoming school board elections

Districts in Nevada are holding primaries on June 14. Districts in Texas are holding general runoff elections June 18. Districts in Georgia and Alabama are holding general and primary runoff elections on June 21. Districts in Maryland are holding primaries July 19. 

Nevada

We’re covering the following school board elections on June 14.

Texas

We’re covering general runoff elections in the following districts on June 18.

Georgia

We’re covering general runoff elections in the following districts on June 21.

Alabama

We’re covering general runoff elections in the following districts on June 21.

Maryland

We’re covering the following school board elections on July 19.

School board candidates per seat up for election

Since 2018, we’ve tracked the ratio of school board candidates to seats up for election within our coverage scope. Greater awareness of issues or conflicts around school board governance can result in more candidates running for each office. Click here to see historical data on this subject.  

This year, 2.2 candidates are running for each seat in the 896 school board races we are covering in districts where the filing deadline has passed. The 2.2 candidates per seat is 12.6% more than in 2020.

How states fund public schools: an introduction 

Public schools receive funding from a combination of federal, state, and local governments. According to the U.S. Department of Education, state governments provided about half of all school funding in the 2018-19 school year. How states allocate funding to schools varies. Today, we’re looking at the primary funding models states use to fund schools. Primary funding models cover the basic costs of education, like teacher salaries. 

According to an October 2021 report by the Education Commission of the States (ECS), a nonpartisan organization that researches state-level education policy, most states use one of two approaches for determining the majority of school funding. 

The first, called a student-based foundation model, provides school districts with a base amount of funding per student. The amount is typically defined in state law. The second, known as a resource-based allocation model, provides funding based on the costs of purchasing educational material and hiring teachers and staff for a given number of students. The ECS notes that, under the resource-based allocation model, resources are “often based on a ratio of students to staffing.”

In 2021, 33 states and the District of Columbia used a student-based foundation model to allocate school spending. Ten states used a resource-based allocation model.

In many cases, states that use the student-based foundation model provide districts with a minimum amount of funding per student. For example, Alaska’s base amount in the 2021-22 school year is $5,930. In California, the base amount is determined by grade level. The amount starts at $8,503 for students in kindergarten through third grade and goes up from there. 

Not all states use a general funding formula that falls neatly into one category or the other.  Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and Maine fund schools using approaches that blend the student-based foundation model and the resource-based allocation model. Vermont and Wisconsin use a guaranteed tax base model. In this model, states use a formula to help equalize funding between districts with low and high property tax revenue. 

On top of the primary funding models, states also use a variety of mechanisms for allocating additional funding to categories of students or schools, such as special education students or geographically isolated schools.

Click here to read more about public school funding formulas in the states. 

Extracurricular: education news from around the web

This section contains links to recent education-related articles from around the internet. If you know of a story we should be reading, reply to this email to share it with us! 

Take our Candidate Connection survey to reach voters in your district

Everyone deserves to know their candidates. However, we know it can be hard for voters to find information about their candidates, especially for local offices such as school boards. That’s why we created Candidate Connection—a survey designed to help candidates tell voters about their campaigns, their issues, and so much more. 

In the 2020 election cycle, 4,745 candidates completed the survey. 

If you’re a school board candidate or incumbent, click here to take the survey.

The survey contains over 30 questions, and you can choose the ones you feel will best represent your views to voters. If you complete the survey, a box with your answers will display on your Ballotpedia profile. Your responses will also populate the information that appears in our mobile app, My Vote Ballotpedia.

And if you’re not running for school board, but there is an election in your community this year, share the link with the candidates and urge them to take the survey!



All three candidates for Office 67 on the Superior Court of Los Angeles County complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection Survey

All three candidates in the nonpartisan primary for Office 67 of the Superior Court of Los Angeles CountyFernanda Maria Barreto, Ryan Dibble, and Elizabeth Lashley-Haynes—have submitted Candidate Connection surveys to Ballotpedia. These surveys allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them on political and personal levels.

The race for Office 67 is one we are watching closely. The Los Angeles Times‘ editorial board wrote, “For many years, the most successful judicial candidates were prosecutors, presumably because voters believed that they would … deal more harshly with criminal defendants,” but added that “[t]his year there are several deputy public defenders running, an interesting development that’s part of the broader movement for criminal justice reform.”

Barreto and Dibble both have prosecutorial experience, working as deputy district attorneys in Los Angeles County. Lashley-Haynes has experience as a deputy public defender in the county’s public defender office.

When completing the survey, every candidate is asked to provide the key messages they want to share with voters. Here are excerpts from those responses. You can read each candidate’s full survey responses by clicking on their names:

Fernanda Maria Barreto: “With almost 16 years of experience as a DDA handling complex felony cases including murder, rape, and domestic violence, I am capable and qualified to take on the responsibility of being a Superior Court Judge.”

Ryan Dibble: “I will seek to maintain public safety and integrity of the judicial system by properly and objectively exercising discretion within the confines of the law.”

Elizabeth Lashley-Haines: “Improve public safety by addressing the root causes of crime”

Unlike partisan top-two primaries in California, in nonpartisan primaries, a candidate who receives more than 50% of the vote wins the primary outright. If no candidate crosses that threshold, the top two vote-getters will advance to a Nov. 8 runoff.

While the race is officially nonpartisan, meaning candidates will appear on the ballot without party labels, all three candidates have been endorsed by at least one organization affiliated with the Democratic Party.

There are 494 judges on the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, making it the largest trial court in the country. Judges serve six-year terms. Offices on the court only appear on the ballot when an incumbent judge is challenged or, in the case of Office 67, no incumbent files for re-election. In 2022, contested races are scheduled for nine of the 167 offices up for election. Click here to learn more about judicial selection in California.

Judges on the Superior Court of Los Angeles County conduct all original trials in the county, except in cases where appellate level courts have original jurisdiction. According to the court’s website, “Cases range from simple traffic infractions to murders; landlord/tenant disputes to multi-million dollar lawsuits; guardianships to involuntary commitments.”



Weekly Brew: ICYMI

A deep dive into April 5 school board conflict elections in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin

Since June 2021, Ballotpedia has tracked school board elections where candidates have taken a position on race in education, COVID responses, or sex and gender in schools. In November 2021, we analyzed the election results in 96 of these districts. Now, we’ve identified 141 school districts in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin that held elections on April 5 in which candidates took a position on one or more of those three issues.

Following the elections, we used media reporting, op-eds, candidate websites, campaign ads, and more, to categorize each candidate as either supporting or opposing an issue.  Click the link below to see more of this analysis, including a breakdown by conflict issue.

Read More

Marijuana legalization initiative qualifies for the South Dakota ballot

On May 25, South Dakota Secretary of State Steve Barnett (R) announced an initiative that would legalize marijuana, officially titled Initiated Measure 27, will appear on the November ballot. If voters approve the proposal, people aged 21 and over will be able to legally possess, use, and distribute marijuana.

Nationwide, there are 15 marijuana-related measures either in process or certified for the ballot. Eighteen states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes—12 through citizen initiatives, one through a legislatively referred constitutional amendment, and six through legislative action. 

Read More

Previewing the first top-four congressional primary in U.S. history

A top-four primary in the special election for Alaska’s At-Large Congressional District is just around the corner in Alaska on June 11. This is the first top-four congressional primary in U.S. history. Former incumbent Rep. Don Young (R) died on March 18, 2022.

All candidates will appear on the same ballot with their affiliations listed next to their names. The four candidates with the most votes will advance to the general election, which will use ranked-choice voting.

Forty-eight candidates filed by the April 1, 2022, deadline. The special primary election ballot comprises:

  • 22 candidates running as nonpartisan or with undeclared affiliation
  • 16 Republicans
  • 6 Democrats
  • 2 Libertarians
  • 1 American Independent Party member
  • 1 Alaskan Independence Party member

Read More

Ten statewide candidate filing deadlines coming up this month

June is one of the busiest months of the 2022 election cycle, with 17 primary elections, the most of the year, and 10 statewide candidate filing deadlines, the year’s second-most. Three filing deadlines have already passed in June. Candidates in Alaska, Kansas, and Wisconsin had until June 1 to file to run in primary elections.

Five filing deadlines are coming up next week. Connecticut, Hawaii, and Massachusetts have deadlines set for June 7. New Hampshire and New York’s deadlines are coming up on June 10.

Two deadlines will come later in the month. Candidates in Florida have until June 17 to file, followed by those in Rhode Island on June 29.

These June filing deadlines are some of the last for this election cycle. Only two states—Delaware and Louisiana—have later filing deadlines, with both scheduled for July.

Read More



Hall Pass: Your Ticket to Understanding School Board Politics, Edition #15

Welcome to Hall Pass. This newsletter keeps you plugged into the conversations driving school board politics and governance. Each week, we bring you a roundup of the latest on school board elections, along with sharp commentary and research from across the political spectrum on the issues confronting school boards in the country’s 14,000 school districts. We’ll also bring you the latest on school board elections and recall efforts, including candidate filing deadlines and election results.

In today’s edition, you’ll find:

  • On the issues: the debate over transgender athletes in school sports 
  • School board filing deadlines, election results, and recall certifications
  • How conflicts over race, the pandemic, and sex and gender played out in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin school board elections
  • Extracurricular: links from around the web 
  • Candidate Connection survey

On the Issues: The debate over transgender athletes in school sports

According to the New York Times, since 2019, 18 states have passed bills regulating the participation of transgender students in school sports. 

South Carolina is the latest state to pass legislation requiring transgender students to compete in sports consistent with the sex specified on their birth certificates. 

Below, Win Hammond writes South Carolina’s transgender sports law is discriminatory and unfair to transgender athletes. Hammond says there is no evidence that transgender students who identify as female have an unfair advantage over females who meet the birth certificate requirement under South Carolina law.

McGee Moody writes that male puberty hormones like testosterone create lasting physiological differences that give transgender athletes who identify as female an athletic advantage in women’s sports. Moody says allowing students who identify as female to compete in women’s sports undermines equal opportunity in female competitions. 

SC’s anti-trans athletes bill is bad for students, based in bigotry | Win Hammond, The Daily Gamecock

“Trans athletes have the potential to beat cisgender kids, just like any other child does. However, their success is sometimes unfairly seen as invalid due to the trans athlete’s identity. Trans women are not endangering women’s sports — after all, they are women. Women, no matter their identity, can compete fairly against one another; it is more of an issue of athleticism than hormones. … The bill aims to segregate competitions based on sex, but there is no conclusive evidence suggesting this segregation’s necessity. In fact, the more these arguments are investigated, the more they seem like simple attacks on transgender people’s identity. The entire debate surrounding the presence of trans athletes ignores data and operates purely off of lies and bigotry, with the smallest concern for the future of S.C. students.”

South Carolina must protect our female athletes | McGee Moody, The Post and Courier

“In swimming, the concept of time is represented by speed, power and force applied upon the water, all of which are affected by physiological traits such as height, weight, muscle growth, hand size and foot size. In all of these areas, males have an athletic advantage as a result of testosterone production during puberty. … As a coach, I worked very hard to be a voice for my female athletes and to protect their right to fair competition. As a father, I will never tell my daughters they are unable to be successful on any level. However, I will not stand idly by and let the deck be stacked against these women and girls. We cannot let the hard-fought work of so many to ensure equal opportunities for female athletes be reversed by allowing men to compete in women’s sports. When we ignore biological reality, female athletes lose medals, public recognition and opportunities to compete.”

School board update: filing deadlines, election results, and recall certifications

Ballotpedia has historically covered school board elections in about 500 of the country’s largest districts. We’re gradually expanding the number we cover with our eye on all of the roughly 14,000 districts with elected school boards.

Upcoming school board elections

Districts in California are holding primary elections on June 7. Districts in Nevada are holding primary elections on June 14.

California

We’re covering the following school board elections on June 7. 

Nevada

We’re covering the following school board elections on June 14.

School board candidates per seat up for election

Since 2018, we’ve tracked the ratio of school board candidates to seats up for election within our coverage scope. Greater awareness of issues or conflicts around school board governance can cause the number of candidates per seat to increase. Click here to see historical data on this subject.  

This year, 2.2 candidates are running for each seat in the 887 school board races we are covering in districts where the filing deadline has passed. The 2.2 candidates per seat is 12.6% more than in 2020. 

How conflicts over race, the pandemic, and sex and gender played out in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin school board elections

School board incumbents lost at nearly twice the historical average rate in a sample of April 2022 school board contests where candidates offered views on three conflict issues—race in education, responses to the coronavirus pandemic, and sex and gender in schools. 

Recently, we identified 141 school districts in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin that held elections on April 5 where candidates took a stance on race in education, COVID responses, or sex and gender in schools. The 141 districts represent 9.7% of the 1,453 districts in those states (although not all of which held elections on April 5).

There were 334 seats up for election in these 141 districts. Incumbents running for re-election in these districts lost to challengers at a rate nearly twice recent averages.

Following the elections, we used media reporting, op-eds, candidate websites, campaign ads, and more, to categorize each candidate as either supporting or opposing an issue. In cases where candidate stances were not readily apparent, we labeled them as unclear.

  • Race in education: candidates supporting this issue tend to support expanding the use of curricula related to race as well as district-specific equity or diversity plans. Candidates opposing this issue tend to oppose these efforts.
  • Responses to the coronavirus pandemic: candidates supporting this issue tend to support or previously supported, mask or vaccine requirements, and social distancing or distance learning relating to the pandemic. Candidates opposing this issue tend to oppose these measures their districts took or considered in response to the pandemic.
  • Sex and gender in schools: candidates supporting this issue tend to support expanding sexual education curricula or the use of gender-neutral facilities and learning materials. Candidates opposing this issue tend to oppose these efforts.

Over the past four election cycles, from 2018 to 2021, incumbents lost 18% of races where they filed for re-election among those districts within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope. But in the April 5 conflict races, 33% of incumbents lost re-election.

The most common conflict was responses to the coronavirus pandemic, which appeared in 135 districts accounting for 320 seats. Race in education followed, appearing in 108 districts with 258 seats. Sex and gender appeared in 69 districts accounting for 159 seats.

Here’s a breakdown of the positions candidates took on coronavirus responses:

Here’s a breakdown of the positions candidates took on race in education:

Here’s a breakdown of the positions candidates took on sex and gender:

In total, 233 incumbents filed for re-election, leaving 101 seats open, guaranteed to be won by newcomers. That represents 30% of the seats up for election, which is similar to what we see among school board districts within our coverage scope, especially in even-numbered years.

Click here to read more of this analysis. 

Extracurricular: education news from around the web

This section contains links to recent education-related articles from around the internet. If you know of a story we should be reading, reply to this email to share it with us! 

Take our Candidate Connection survey to reach voters in your district

Everyone deserves to know their candidates. However, we know it can be hard for voters to find information about their candidates, especially for local offices such as school boards. That’s why we created Candidate Connection—a survey designed to help candidates tell voters about their campaigns, their issues, and so much more. 

In the 2020 election cycle, 4,745 candidates completed the survey. 

If you’re a school board candidate or incumbent, click here to take the survey.

The survey contains more than 30 questions, and you can choose the ones you feel will best represent your views to voters. If you complete the survey, a box with your answers will display on your Ballotpedia profile. Your responses will also appear in our mobile app, My Vote Ballotpedia.

And if you’re not running for school board, but there is an election in your community this year, share the link with the candidates and urge them to take the survey!



How COVID, race, and gender affected the April 5 school board races in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin

School board incumbents lost at nearly twice the historical average rate in a sample of April 2022 school board contests where candidates offered views on three conflict issues

Ballotpedia identified 141 school districts in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin that held elections on April 5, where candidates took a stance on race in education, COVID responses, or sex and gender in schools. That is 9.7% of the 1,453 school districts in these states, not all of which held elections on April 5.

There were 334 seats up for election in these 141 districts.

We researched the winning candidates’ stances on these three issues following the elections using media reporting, op-eds, candidate websites, campaign ads, and more. After this, we labeled each candidate as either supporting or opposing. In cases where candidate stances were not readily apparent, we labeled them unclear.

  • Race in education: candidates supporting this issue tend to support expanding the use of curricula related to race and district-specific equity or diversity plans. Candidates opposing this issue tend to oppose these efforts.
  • Responses to the coronavirus pandemic: candidates supporting this issue tend to support or previously supported, mask or vaccine requirements and social distancing or distance learning relating to the pandemic. Candidates opposing this issue tend to oppose these measures their districts took or considered in response to the pandemic.
  • Sex and gender in schools: candidates supporting this issue tend to support expanding sexual education curricula or the use of gender-neutral facilities and learning materials. Candidates opposing this issue tend to oppose these efforts.

Incumbents running for re-election in these 141 districts lost to challengers at a rate nearly twice recent averages.

Over the past four election cycles, from 2018 to 2021, incumbents lost 18% of races where they filed for re-election among those districts within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope.

In the April 5 conflict races, 33% of incumbents lost re-election. This loss rate is higher than that found in our previous study, which examined a separate set of conflict races for school boards across 16 states that held elections on Nov. 2, 2021.

Of the 334 winners in the April 5 conflict races:

  • 120 opposed at least one of these three issues (36%);
  • 149 supported at least one and opposed none (45%); and,
  • 65 had unclear stances on all three (20%).

In our previous Nov. 2, 2021, study, there were 310 seats up for election. In that analysis, we found 30% of winners (94) opposing, 56% (173) supporting, and 14% (43) unclear.

In our April 2022 analysis, 54 candidates took identifiable stances on all three issues. The remaining 280 typically had a mixture of opposing or supporting stances and unclear viewpoints. This was expected: not every race showed signs of conflict on all three issues heading into the elections.

The most common conflict was responses to the coronavirus pandemic, which appeared in 135 districts accounting for 320 seats. Race in education followed, appearing in 108 districts with 258 seats. Sex and gender appeared in 69 districts accounting for 159 seats.

When looking at specific conflicts, in districts where we identified a conflict regarding responses to the coronavirus pandemic, a plurality of winners—124, or 39%—took stances supportive of things like mask requirements or social distancing. Ninety-nine winners (31%) took opposing stances and 97 winners (30%) had unclear stances.

In districts with conflicts regarding race in education, a plurality of winners—105, or 41%—took stances supportive of curricula that included topics regarding race or diversity, equity, and inclusion plans. Seventy-seven winners (30%) had opposing stances and 76 winners (30%) had unclear stances.

In districts where we identified conflicts regarding sex and gender in schools, a majority of winners—90, or 57%—had unclear stances regarding topics like sexual education curricula or the usage of gender-specific facilities. Forty winners (25%) took opposing stances and 29 (18%) had supportive stances.

In total, 233 incumbents filed for re-election, leaving 101 seats open, guaranteed to be won by newcomers. That represents 30% of the seats up for election. This is similar to what we see among school board districts within our coverage scope in the ten years we have been covering school board elections.

It also represents a decrease from the school board conflicts analysis Ballotpedia conducted following the November 2021 elections. In that sample, nearly half of the seats up for election were open.

This implies that incumbents were not retiring at an increased rate in these 141 school districts.

Using the link below, you can find a complete list of school districts where Ballotpedia has identified one of the three conflicts present in school board elections from 2021 to 2022.

Conflicts in school board elections, 2021-2022



Nine candidates running in Los Angeles’ mayoral primary election

Nine candidates are running in the June 7, 2022, primary for mayor of Los Angeles, California. Incumbent Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) could not run for re-election due to term limits.

Karen Bass (D) and Rick Caruso (D) have led the field in media coverage and fundraising. Though the election is officially nonpartisan, both candidates are registered Democrats. Caruso announced he changed his party registration from no party preference to Democrat in January 2022. Bass has held elected office as a Democrat since 2005.

Bass was first elected to public office in 2004 to serve in the California State Assembly. She served in the Assembly from 2005 to 2010 and was speaker from 2008 to 2010. Bass was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and currently represents California’s 37th Congressional District. In a campaign ad, Bass said, “I’m running for mayor to meet today’s challenges: crime, homelessness, and the soaring cost of housing.”

Caruso is the founder and chief executive officer of a retail complex development company. He has also served on Los Angeles’ Department of Water and Power Commission, as the president of Los Angeles’ Police Commission, and on the USC Board of Trustees. In a campaign ad, Caruso said, “I’m running for mayor because the city we love is in a state of emergency: rampant homelessness, people living in fear for their safety, and politicians at city hall just in it for themselves.”

Public safety has been a top issue in the race. A Caruso campaign ad said, “As Police Commission president, [Caruso] took on city hall politicians and cut crime 30%. As mayor, Caruso won’t defund the police. He’ll invest in making L.A. safer with 1,500 new officers, increase youth crime prevention, and crack down on illegal guns and retail theft.” 

Bass said she would hire police officers and civilian workers in police departments to add at least 250 officers to patrol, invest in programs to address causes of crime, and establish an Office of Community Safety “to develop a neighborhood-specific strategy to re-envision public safety, and ensure that the needs of individual communities are met.”

Craig Greiwe, Alex Gruenenfelder, John Jackson, Andrew Kim, Gina Viola, Mel Wilson, and Kevin de León are also running in the primary. Joe Buscaino unofficially withdrew from the race on May 12 and endorsed Caruso, Mike Feuer unofficially withdrew on May 17 and endorsed Bass, and Ramit Varma unofficially withdrew on May 23 and endorsed Caruso. Buscaino, Feuer, and Varma will still appear on the primary ballot.

A candidate can win the election outright with more than 50% of the vote in the primary. If no candidate meets that threshold, the top two vote-getters will advance to a November 8 general election. Since 1933, every open election for Los Angeles mayor has advanced to a general election. Heading into the election, the last time a candidate won an open election for mayor outright in the primary was in 1929. 

This is the first even-year election for Los Angeles mayor since the 2015 passage of Charter Amendment 1, which shifted city elections to even-numbered years beginning in 2020.



Nine candidates running in Los Angeles’ mayoral primary election

Nine candidates are running in the June 7, 2022, primary for mayor of Los Angeles, California. Incumbent Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) could not run for re-election due to term limits.

Karen Bass (D) and Rick Caruso (D) have led the field in media coverage and fundraising. Though the election is officially nonpartisan, both candidates are registered Democrats. Caruso announced he changed his party registration from no party preference to Democrat in January 2022. Bass has held elected office as a Democrat since 2005.

Bass was first elected to public office in 2004 to serve in the California State Assembly. She served in the Assembly from 2005 to 2010 and was speaker from 2008 to 2010. Bass was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and currently represents California’s 37th Congressional District. In a campaign ad, Bass said, “I’m running for mayor to meet today’s challenges: crime, homelessness, and the soaring cost of housing.”

Caruso is the founder and chief executive officer of a retail complex development company. He has also served on Los Angeles’ Department of Water and Power Commission, as the president of Los Angeles’ Police Commission, and on the USC Board of Trustees. In a campaign ad, Caruso said, “I’m running for mayor because the city we love is in a state of emergency: rampant homelessness, people living in fear for their safety, and politicians at city hall just in it for themselves.”

Public safety has been a top issue in the race. A Caruso campaign ad said, “As Police Commission president, [Caruso] took on city hall politicians and cut crime 30%. As mayor, Caruso won’t defund the police. He’ll invest in making L.A. safer with 1,500 new officers, increase youth crime prevention, and crack down on illegal guns and retail theft.” 

Bass said she would hire police officers and civilian workers in police departments to add at least 250 officers to patrol, invest in programs to address causes of crime, and establish an Office of Community Safety “to develop a neighborhood-specific strategy to re-envision public safety, and ensure that the needs of individual communities are met.”

Craig Greiwe, Alex Gruenenfelder, John Jackson, Andrew Kim, Gina Viola, Mel Wilson, and Kevin de León are also running in the primary. Joe Buscaino unofficially withdrew from the race on May 12 and endorsed Caruso, Mike Feuer unofficially withdrew on May 17 and endorsed Bass, and Ramit Varma unofficially withdrew on May 23 and endorsed Caruso. Buscaino, Feuer, and Varma will still appear on the primary ballot.

A candidate can win the election outright with more than 50% of the vote in the primary. If no candidate meets that threshold, the top two vote-getters will advance to a November 8 general election. Since 1933, every open election for Los Angeles mayor has advanced to a general election. Heading into the election, the last time a candidate won an open election for mayor outright in the primary was in 1929. 

This is the first even-year election for Los Angeles mayor since the 2015 passage of Charter Amendment 1, which shifted city elections to even-numbered years beginning in 2020.