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San Dieguito Faculty Association launches petition for special election

The San Dieguito Faculty Association (SDFA) announced that it has launched a petition asking the San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD) to hold a special election to fill a seat left vacant after Area 5 trustee Kristin Gibson’s resignation.

In a press release, the SDFA stated that it wants due process and constituent voices to be heard in the selection of a new school board member.

The San Dieguito Union School District offices.
The San Dieguito Union High School District office.
(Karen Billing)

“We believe that voting is an important part of the democratic process,” said Duncan Brown, president of the SDFA in a news release. “People serving on the governing body of our district should be elected in a way that reflects the wishes of the constituents of Area 5, to ensure that their interests are fairly represented during any school district decision-making process.”

On April 22, the board unanimously appointed Ty Humes to the vacant seat after interviewing seven candidates in open session.

Once an appointment has been made, the public has 30 days to petition for a special election by gathering signatures representing 1.5% of the district area. In this case, 399 signatures would be required. Once the signatures are verified, the appointee would be removed and a special election scheduled.

According to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters, the costs of a special election ranged from $450,000 to $650,000.

With Gibson’s resignation made official on March 19, the board had 60 days to decide whether they would appoint a new trustee or call for a special election. Due to the associated cost and the urgency of issues that the district is facing, the board voted 3-1 (trustee Katrina Young opposed) to go the appointment route. Several members of the public spoke out in favor of an election saying it would be the fairest way to fill the position.

Prior to the appointment of any candidate, SDFA had expressed its desire to start the petition to force a special election.

In the news release, SDFA said it takes no stance on Humes or any of the candidates who expressed interest in filling the board seat.

“Board accountability is critical,” said SDFA member and Canyon Crest Academy teacher Christopher Black. “We teach our students about the importance of speaking up when they feel that a process is unjust; by requesting a special election, we’re asking the board to recognize that the community needs to have a voice in this matter.”

The Parent Association of North County San Diego has stated their opposition to the union’s “disruptive, disingenuous and costly” petition process that is not in the best interest of students.

“It’s well past time for our focus to be on students and their academic, physical, social and emotional well-being. This district needs strong leadership and a full board to move toward normalcy and repair the damage done in the community due to long-term school closures,” said Ginny Merrifield, executive director of the Parent Association. “The board of trustees came together for the first time to unanimously appoint Mr. Humes as a fellow trustee. We need the SDFA to respect that decision.”


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