While the majority of neighboring school districts have returned to in-person instruction, the Board of Trustees and the interim superintendent are ignoring the State and County reopening guidelines and the comments of parents who would like to send their kids back to school. They make up their own rules. This has to stop! Our kids need in-person instruction.
CUSD will be last amongst all of its neighboring districts to reopen and in the bottom 20% of Santa Clara County with an initial reopening proposal of 75 minutes, 2x a week.
The purpose of this campaign is to recall CUSD Board Trustees who will not fight unions and not fully reopen CUSD schools.
We have filed our intent and petition to recall Lori Cunningham with Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. A copy of the intent letter is here. We are recalling Lori because she was President of the CUSD Board during the school closures and had multiple opportunities to push for reopening last year but has stymied progress.
Our friends at Recall SF School Board put together a great slide with the process and we updated it for CUSD. We are now at the first step of the petition process. We have to collect 11,768 signatures by Oct 4, 2021.
We have prepared the forms and have already collected the signatures to file intent letters to recall Sylvia Leong, Jerry Liu, Satheesh Madhathil and Phyllis Vogel. We will continue to monitor progress towards our goal and file those intents to recall accordingly.
Our goal is to return our children to the classrooms 6 hours a day, 5 days a week for in-person education NOW. Even at the height of the pandemic in December, at least 44% of our parents were prepared to send their kids back to schools even if just for a few hours a week and possibly with a different teacher.
As long as full reopening continues to be delayed, we believe that irrespective of what our Board Members say in public, their priorities are not the children.
Get involvedFollow @RecallCUSDBoard
Please see here for more information.
The CUSD Board has repeatedly failed their civic duty to represent the parents of CUSD. Like many of our neighboring districts, CUSD parents want in-person instruction to resume: 44% of CUSD parents would prefer in-person instruction (source here [p. 10]) and that doesn't include the 2200+ children who have left (source here [p. 7]) to private or other options. Despite all that, the CUSD Board continues to stymie and block the progress of school reopening:
- At the 2/25 Board meeting, the Board reviewed a proposal to open schools for only 75 mins to 2.5 hours for two days a week starting on 4/5. We need to reopen now and to 6 hours a day, 5 days a week.
- For the most part, the Board has sided with the teachers' union, which comprises a substantial part of Lori's, Phyllis', and Jerry’s donor base. Please watch Waiting for Superman on Netflix to see how troubling this is.
- Sylvia, at a Fall Board meeting, said, "My friends tell me remote school is going well," discounting the cries from parents. The tone-deafness of such comments is a disgrace to the many kids struggling.
- Phyllis has said multiple times that she advocates for a "conservative reopening" bucking science and expert recommendations.
- Since the fall, Satheesh has consistently suggested adding more phases further delaying, if not stalling reopening.
- Jerry, although more recently has been advocating for reopening, has reiterated that he stands in unison with his colleagues.
It is the job of the Board and especially the President, Lori Cunningham, to work and negotiate harder with unions to prioritize children. Unfortunately, we, CUSD, had Union leaders endorsing our Superintendent in the 2/25 Board meeting—that isn’t a good look.
The fact is that over the course of the past 7 months, the Board has taken a "can't do" vs. "can do" attitude. Even in recent discussions, it is clear that the current proposed reopening is a function of SB86 funding stipulating a reopening by April 1st rather than the prioritization of children who are suffering and need to return now. In fact, when presented with a previous bill offering COVID relief funds, AB10 endorsed by Gavin Newsom at the January Board meeting, the Board dismissed the bill as being “too aggressive” while neighboring districts had reopened.
We have prepared more details why we believe Lori Cunningham must be recalled for exhibiting poor leadership. Please see a write-up analyzing Lori and the Board Members' actions through the end of February here. Below we have also added further answers to questions that have arisen since the end of February.
Lori has consistently stymied efforts to reopen up until maybe very recently after significant parent pressure (and it’s been downright exasperating for most). We go into great detail here about her actions or rather inactions through the summer and fall of 2020 as President of the CUSD Board. Lori has taken money from teacher unions and does not hide that fact that she prioritizes teachers’ choice over that of the kids (her own words in the Sep 24th Board Meeting).
We don’t know if another pandemic or other catastrophic event will occur (knock on wood) but this past year has been educational for many parents in terms of how school Boards work with the Superintendent and the teacher unions and thus why we are seeing draconian efforts happening across the state from lawsuits to recalls to protests and more.
California itself is now 50th place in school reopenings and even the recent SB86 bill allows schools to re-open for merely an hour a week to constitute reopening and with no requirement of even exiting hybrid in the Fall.
As you can imagine, this is all unacceptable.
Hybrid by definition means compromise. We should not compromise our kids education and social well being. We need to reopen schools fully and it can be done and it has been green-lit by multiple expert agencies. In fact, the California Department of Public Health just reduced social distancing guidelines at schools to 3 feet. At this point, if reopening fully is not happening, it’s not because the district can’t do it, it’s because the school Boards have taken the easy path and not wanting to push back against the teacher unions, often their donor base and social circles.
We know many of you parents are tired and willing to take anything at this point. This is precisely what they are doing but don’t stand for it. Remember, many children across the country and in most of the world are back in school and have been full-time. Why should your child suffer the arrogance of our school Board. And if we don’t push, it may remain hybrid in the Fall; it certainly would be easier for them. Our kids will not only suffer, but they are falling irreparably academically behind.
- Los Altos - Reopened in the Fall, trialing transition from hybrid to full-time
- Saratoga - Reopened in early Feb, also trialing the transition from hybrid to full-time
- Mountain View - Opened this month with plans for full-time this year
- Sunnyvale - Opening this month
- Moreland - Opening this month
- Santa Clara - Opening at Orange tier which should be this week
We intend to set up signing booths for signature collection. We are teaming up with Reopen California Schools and Open Schools California, and they have funding and volunteers to assist us in collecting signatures.
Please sign up for our mailing list (using the form below), follow us on Twitter @RecallCUSDBoard and we will keep you posted. Thank you for your interest.
- The first step is to file an intent for recall (as we have done).
- The next step is to file the petition for recall (which we have done) and then begin the signature collection process after it is approved.
- After the petition has the required number of valid signatures, a recall election will take place. We will then have an opportunity to elect a new member of the Board of Education to represent us at CUSD.
For more details, see the county's guide to recall. See below slide for the process:
See Media Coverage page for full coverage.
Front page of The Mercury News on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 covers the rally for opening schools. In the photo: “Jill Borges, far right, a teacher at Cupertino High School, protests school closings in the Cupertino and Sunnyvale school districts with her three children”