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Media Coverage

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Lori has always prioritized unions’ position over science, over the teachers who want to return to schools, over the suffering kids. This is the damage a union funded board member can do to your children. #KidsBeforeUnions

Lori has always made her own rules when it came to reopening. She bucks science and she decides when she thinks it’s safe. Meanwhile, the children suffer. Her tone-deafness needs to be stopped. Vote to recall Lori and replace her with someone who can advocate for kids and who is not in the pocket of the unions.

The Mercury News reports Pandemic slide continues: California public school student enrollment lowest in two decades

Mike Fine, chief executive officer of the state’s Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team, which helps districts manage their finances, said schools should adjust to students’ changing needs – offer smaller classes, early child care centers, STEM activities and other academic options – to reel families back in as they face competition with nontraditional schools.

The solution isn’t to close a school when student enrollment is too small, Fine said. “It’s to figure out where kids (have gone) and get them back.”

Los Altos Town Crier reports CUSD recall organizers claim they are ‘very close’ to goal

“We have the support of the community and will succeed. We’ve achieved what we have done so far without raising any money, which is unheard of at this scale for recall races of any type,” Lee wrote in an email to the Town Crier. “If we have to run it again, we will be even more organized, ready to raise real funds and more tapped into influencer supporters, including some major political leaders and more.”

The Mercury News reports Inside the exodus from Bay Area neighborhood schools

In Cupertino, where many families can afford to send kids to high-priced academic programs and live next to high-performing schools, enrollment fell by more than 24% in the past six years.

CUSD has had the steepest enrollment decline in the entire county.

The Mercury News reports Cupertino council members push back on school closures

But Willey argued that the council was elected to “represent the residents” and hear all of their complaints.

“I listened to Superintendent Yao tonight and it sure sounded to me as an audience person, she wasn’t here to listen, she was here to tell,” he said. “If CUSD has important information about our streets or about something in our community, I want to hear.”

Cupertino Patch reports Cupertino Councilmembers Make Unusual Request Of School Board

Chao, Willey and Mayor Darcy Paul signaled support during the meeting for urging the school board to rethink its decision. The council did not vote on whether to send the letter formally. At least one councilmember, Hung Wei, a former school board member, criticized the draft letter. School District board members.

“The five of us were elected by the residents,” Willey said. “We’re here to listen to the residents. I’m here to listen to the residents. And when I don’t want to listen to the residents, it’s time for me to step down.”

Willey seemed bothered by a presentation put together by the school district in which it rebutted claims from critics of the school closures, labeling them “false” in red lettering, and called the presentation “propaganda” and “not nice.”

Los Altos Town Crier reports County approves recall petitions for CUSD board members

The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters Thursday approved the circulation of petitions for the recall of three Cupertino Union School District board members.

Frustrated parents mounted the recall campaign against board members Lori Cunningham, Sylvia Leong and Phyllis Vogel after they voted last month to close two district schools and consolidate a third. Cunningham, a Los Altos resident, was the target of a failed recall attempt earlier this year for prioritizing remote learning over reopening schools amid the pandemic.

World Journal features Cupertino controversy rippling after school closure

Parents propose to initiate the recall of the Board of Education

As soon as the news of pending school closures came out, the local Chinese community [in CUSD] launched into fervent protests. In the three weeks before the final vote, students and their parents organized a number of rallies in the school district committee office, the city council hall, and other places.

The controversy over school closures is still fermenting, and some parents have proposed to follow the example of San Francisco school board recall. Whether this proposal will materialize or not, the school closure incident has indeed aroused people’s awareness and participation. Eva Hu, a CUSD parent, expressed that she, like many other Chinese, would not stand up for herself. However, the price to pay for silence is that the school her child attended is to be closed. “It wasn’t until the voting results came out that many parents realized their children’s elementary school was really going to be closed, that it was a matter of crucial importance,” Hu said.

Backlash Mounts As Cupertino School District Ponders Closures
Backlash Mounts As Cupertino School District Ponders Closures

Cupertino Patch reports Backlash Mounts As Cupertino School District Ponders Closures

The looming decision has garnered pushback from parents against the district and the board, which for months faced a stream of recall efforts over its plan to reopen schools during the pandemic. Last weekend, a group protested outside City Hall, holding signs that read, “School closure drives more kids away” and “CUSD puts students last [and] political agenda first.”

Low-income families rely on schools within walking distance for their children, Cupertino Vice Mayor Liang-Fang Chao, who opposed the closures, said in a statement to Patch.

“Many families of English learners are probably not aware that their home school will be gone,” Chao said. “These vulnerable populations will be victimized again by CUSD’s rushed decision to close schools in the middle of the pandemic.”

Mercury News reports Cupertino district pursues school closures

At a Sept. 23 meeting, staff recommended to the board that the district close Regnart and Meyerholz elementary schools and consolidate Muir Elementary School, effective in the 2022-23 school year. Students would be transferred to other district schools; the Mandarin/English immersion program would remain on the Muir campus. […]

The recommendations don’t sit well with parents whose children attend Meyerholz and Muir, both located in West San Jose.

“It has created huge social unrest and anxiety in the community, because it can potentially lead to middle and high school rezoning,” CUSD parent Yu Zu wrote in an email to this newspaper. “Their action makes the residents in the West San Jose community suffer more in this current pandemic time.

In fact, staff also recommended continuing to monitor the enrollment at the district’s six middle schools through the 2025-26 school year, and to consider closing a campus if it falls below 700 students.

Los Altos Town Crier reports CUSD board member recall appears unlikely to succeed

“The fact that we got over 2,000 signatures via mail-in only to our PO Box is a testament to how much this community believes that Lori Cunningham should be removed,” said Valentin Ryabov, recall organizer and Los Altos resident, via email. “Mail-in ballots as a percentage of total ballots is typically around less than 5% and so we know if we ran signature booths and door-to-door collection, we would have succeeded.”

Moving forward, the team plans to focus on making Recall CUSD Board a platform where parents can voice their concerns, and from there, the team can raise them to the district level.

Mercury News reports Distance learning was a fail, but with COVID up, these Bay Area parents want it back “Like a growing number of California communities, Cupertino has become a battleground over school closures and other measures during the pandemic. Parents outraged over the slow reopening of classrooms gathered more than 2,000 signatures toward recalling board member Lori Cunningham, whom they argued has been too deferential to the fears of unionized teachers about returning to classrooms.

Cupertino Today reports Voting underway in Cupertino for the CUSD Measure A parcel tax “… a group of local parents are pushing to recall several members of the CUSD board including Lori Cunningham, Sylvia Leong, Phyllis Vogel, Jerry Liu and Satheesh Madhathil over their opposition to reopening schools. The Recall CUSD Board has been extremely vocal about their dissatisfaction with the CUSD board, its non-prioritization of students and its reopening plan.

Los Altos Town Crier - Cunningham recall
Los Altos Town Crier – Cunningham recall

Los Altos Town Crier, Recall effort targets CUSD board member Lori Cunningham: “Cupertino Union School District board member and Los Altos resident Lori Cunningham is facing a recall campaign, with proponents arguing that she stymied efforts to reopen schools when she served as board president in 2020.”

In CUSD Board of Education meeting on 2/25, an invited speaker, Kai Brown, President of CEA Teachers Union, and a science teacher in Kennedy Middle School, reflected on the protests by referring to the parents as a vocal minority that is bullying the administration.

From The Los Altos Town Crier, Cupertino Union reopens schools over a year after closures: “Some parents have objected to the district’s reopening plan, calling on CUSD to reopen sooner and more broadly. A recall campaign is underway to try to unseat district board member Lori Cunningham, who served as board president last year.

From San Jose Inside, Parents Lead Recall Efforts Against South Bay School Boards: “The Santa Clara County ROV fielded a few recall notices in the past week alone. One of the biggest pushes is against Cupertino Unified School District trustees Lori Cunningham, Sylvia Leong, Jerry Liu, Satheesh Madhathil and Phyllis Vogel.

Recall CUSD Board organizers accuse trustees of ‘failing’ its 17,000 students by refusing to resume in-person classes—a demand reportedly supported by 44 percent of its parents.

Patch reports South Bay School District Copes With Recall, Frustrated Parents “Out of the four school board members interviewed by Patch (the fifth, Satheesh Madhathil, didn’t respond to a request for comment), Liu was the most critical of how he and his colleagues have run the district during the pandemic.

“I feel like we haven’t offered as good a choice for the families who would like to have their children return,” Liu said. “I think the choices have been more one side than the other. Earlier in this pandemic, it was really driven by necessity, by what science tells us. I’m not so sure that’s the case now.”

Cupertino Today reports Furious parents oppose CUSD proposed reopening plans; Friday rally planned to demand more in-person instruction “… a large number of parents are moving their kids out of CUSD and enrolling them in private schools who are providing full in-person schooling. Without the meaningful reopening of CUSD schools, the district will be faced with severe enrollment decline for Fall 2021. Now is the time for CUSD to step up and put students back into the classroom where they belong!”

Thanks to the unrelenting pressure of all the parents around California, including the supporters of the CUSD Board Recall, the Governor and legislature made progress against the unions. Read the full story in Politico. Read full story in Politico

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”

Link to the article: COVID-19: Data show California far behind in reopening schools. Data service puts California 49th of 50 states in returning kids to classrooms

Cupertino Today reports Cupertino parents lead effort to recall CUSD board over school reopening “An effort is underway to recall several members of the Cupertino Unified School District board over their unwillingness to open schools. […] On Tuesday, the group held a socially distanced rally for the reopening of Sunnyvale and Cupertino schools at Fremont High School.”

CBS KPIX5 reports in the evening news on February 23, 2021: COVID: Parents Protest To Reopen Sunnyvale Schools, Threaten To Recall Board

“Dozens of parents protested in Sunnyvale to reopen schools there. Devin Fehely tells us they are even threatening to recall the school board.”

KCBS Radio reports South Bay parents, students call for schools to reopen “These parents have signed a petition to recall board members because they said the districts aren’t moving quick enough to establish reopening plans like other districts have elsewhere in Santa Clara County.”