Efforts underway to recall five Fresno Unified board trustees

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With the September 14 gubernatorial recall election looming, and several local jurisdiction recall efforts underway in Fresno County, the clerk's office is hard at work.

Fresno County Clerk James Kus says, "This is a little busier than Fresno County has experienced recently, but other counties have this on a regular basis."

Wednesday, Fresno Unified Board Trustee Terry Slatic, along with representatives from Save our Schools Fresno and the Constitutionalists for California attempted to verify signatures collected to oust Trustee Veva Islas and Claudia Cazares.

They are just two of five total FUSD board trustees they hope to recall.

Kus says the only way they'd verify the signatures is if they were actually filing a notice of intent.

"The service to our children is very poor and we got to save the kids. It's all about the kids," said Cindy Regier with Constitutionalists for California.

Slatic cites several issues behind the move to recall five of his fellow trustees, including the naming of Fresno Unified's newest campus and the Fresno High School mascot change.

A change he says cost nearly a half-million dollars that should have been used to help the kids struggling with the impacts of COVID.

"How about we get kids to read, write and do math," Slatic said. "In 31 months, we have not had a board agenda item discuss why we are in the bottom 5% of national school districts?"

Cazares provided a statement that reads, "It is, of course, the right of the public to begin recall efforts against any elected official. Yet, I question the veracity of the information provided by Trustee Slatic to entice and support the recall effort. The public needs to verify by their own means the attacks and lies promulgated by Mr. Slatic. For example: on Fox News, he is quoted as saying, "We haven't had one discussion on the agenda about how we are going to address learning loss" - in reality we have had this discussion since January 2021 at EVERY board meeting as we discussed budget amendments, programming changes, and at the 2021-2022 Budget Hearings. Mr. Slatic chooses to misinform the public, and that is not right."

"No one else has been censured but him," said Trustee Keshia Thomas. "It shows he is not spending enough time and effort making sure that agendas are moved for his area."

Board Trustee Keshia Thomas says the district is working diligently to address reading and math scores -- adding it's an issue that takes time to change.

"We're here to help kids become better individuals and to be able to progress in the next phase of their lives," she said. "Our job is not to beat each other up."

Right now, recall efforts are in the signature collection phase, but those in support have already met with at least three potential candidates who they want to see fill board seats.
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