SAN FRANCISCO - Backers of a plan to recall three of San Francisco's school board members say they have reached a milestone 70,000 signatures supporting their efforts.
At the same time, three of those board members are now facing the likelihood of a recall election in a matter of months.
"We've reached 70,000 signatures, which is the number of raw signatures to make sure that we have 51,285 that are valid that we need to make the ballot," said Autumn Looijen from the San Francisco School Board Recall Effort.
Backers of the recall say that will let them take the next step. "That means that we are pretty darned sure that we are going to make the ballot and have a recall election for Gabriela Lopez, Alison Collins and Faauuga Moliga," said Looijen.
Organizers who support the recall say the effort began amidst what they call the botched effort to return students to school for in-person instruction. But the reasons have only grown for why they say they want to see new leadership for San Francisco schools, and point to what they call a looming annual budget crisis.
"With the number of students who have left the city and the school district, it looks like the enrollment is going to be down and we may be looking at $180 million annual deficit next year and the board has not plans to address it," said Looijen.
KTVU reached out to the board members who are the targets of this recall campaign. The school board Vice President Moliga sent a response saying he is waiting for the results of an official count of the signatures to be completed before commenting. But, members of the city's Pacific Islander community are rallying around him, saying in an open letter in part, "We have also witnessed Vice President Moliga dedicate himself to improving San Francisco’s public schools for every student, family, and staff member. He is and has been for the people, not just our people, for all communities."
"Whether or not he's a Pacific Islander, he's an amazing leader and for me personally I don't see anything personally that he has done that even calls for him to be recalled," said Gaynorann Siataga from San Francisco.
The backers from the possible recall are preparing to drop off their valid signatures next Tuesday. If approved, San Franciscans could be voting on whether or not to remove those school board members in February.