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School board, DA recall elections to cost San Francisco $12 million

San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Rafael Mandelman Tuesday requested $12 million to fund two recall elections in 2022, one that addresses three school district board commissioners and another to recall the district attorney.

The supplemental budget request came after the Department of Elections announced Tuesday that a petition brought by the Safer SF Without Boudin group, which had gathered the required 83,000 signatures, had been certified. That certification paves the way for the recall election of District Attorney Chesa Boudin to be held on June 7, 2022.

Boudin was elected in 2019 as a progressive district attorney with stated plans to reform the criminal justice system, but his critics allege his reforms and policies have resulted in increased crime.

Before voters decide whether Boudin keeps his job, they will be faced with another recall election on Feb. 15, 2022. A petition to recall three school board commissioners — Alison Collins, Gabriela López and Faauuga Moliga — was certified by the Department of Elections last month.

Ching Wong/SFBay Supporters set up a banner at San Francisco District Attorney candidate Chesa Boudin’s election night party in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, November 5, 2019. (Ching Wong/SFBay.ca)

In the case of the commissioners, parents have criticized the school board response throughout the pandemic, accusing them of not prioritizing students’ return to classrooms.

Breed hasn’t publicly stated whether she supports the Boudin recall attempt, but she has voiced support for recalling the three school commissioners.

In a statement, the mayor said:

“Sadly, our School Board’s priorities have often been severely misplaced. During such a difficult time, the decisions we make for our children will have long term impacts. Which is why it is so important to have leadership that will tackle these challenges head on, and not get distracted by unnecessary influences or political agendas.”

Breed said it has been difficult to hear of parents pulling children from the school district because they have lost confidence in the board.

The school district is supposed to incur the cost of the special recall election, but it will instead be covered under the supplemental budget request, the Mayor’s Office said. Mandelman said in a statement that students should not bear the cost of the recall election.

The school district is also facing potential state intervention due to a $125 million budget shortfall.

The supplemental budget funding will first need to be approved by the Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Finance Committee — it then goes to the full board for consideration.

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