Bobby Garcia and Louie Gonzales recall, Sunnyside Unified School District, Arizona (2014)

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An effort to recall Bobby Garcia and Louie Gonzales from their at-large positions on the Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board in Arizona was launched in July 2013.[1] Garcia and Gonzales were recalled during a mail-in ballot election that concluded on May 20, 2014.[2] They were replaced by Rebecca Quintero and Eric Griffin, respectively. Quintero and Griffin were sworn into office during a board meeting on June 3, 2014.[3]

Garcia and Gonzales were targeted for recall due to their support for former superintendent Manuel Isquierdo. Isquierdo attracted criticism from community members for questionable uses of district resources, erratic personal behavior and poor financial management. He was bought out of his contract in June 2014 and replaced by Eugenia Favela.[1][4] For more information on why community members pursued a recall election, check out the section titled Recall supporter arguments.

The recall effort against Garcia and Gonzales followed a 2013 effort to recall fellow board members Buck Crouch and Daniel Hernandez Jr. District resident Marcos A. Castro organized the recall effort because Crouch and Hernandez were critical of Isquierdo. Supporters of this recall effort did not submit recall petitions, claiming that they did not want the district to pay for multiple recall elections. Both recall efforts began in the summer of 2013 with Castro's effort halted in December 2013.[5]

Election results

Sunnyside Unified School District, Garcia Recall Election, Unexpired 2-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngRebecca Quintero 59.3% 2,548
     Nonpartisan Bobby Garcia Incumbent 21.8% 938
     Nonpartisan Mike Polak 18.8% 808
Total Votes 4,294
Source: Information submitted to Ballotpedia through e-mail from Ricky D. Hernandez on June 25, 2014. These results are official and certified by the Pima County Elections Department


Sunnyside Unified School District, Gonzales Recall Election, Unexpired 2-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngEric Griffin 75.1% 3,108
     Nonpartisan Louie Gonzales Incumbent 24.9% 1,029
Total Votes 4,137
Source: Information submitted to Ballotpedia through e-mail from Ricky D. Hernandez on June 25, 2014. These results are official and certified by the Pima County Elections Department

Candidates at a glimpse

Note: To jump ahead to a particular candidate statement, click on the candidate name from the following list:

UncheckedBox.jpg Bobby Garcia

  • Incumbent
  • Identity theft specialist, LegalShield Co.
  • Board member, 2012 to 2014

CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Rebecca Quintero

  • Recycling education coordinator, Tucson Clean & Beautiful

UncheckedBox.jpg Mike Polak

  • Graduate, Southern California Institute of Technology
  • Aerospace contractor
  • Veteran, U.S. Marine Corps

UncheckedBox.jpg Louie Gonzales

  • Incumbent
  • Board member, 1990 to 1996 and 2007 to 2014

CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Eric Griffin

  • Board member, 1994 to 2010
  • Veteran, U.S. Navy

List legend
Symbol Meaning
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Candidate won the election
UncheckedBox.jpg Candidate lost the election

Candidate statements

The Office of the Pima County School Superintendent published candidate statements prior to the recall election. Here are excerpts of these candidate statements:

Bobby Garcia

I currently serve on the Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board after being elected to my first term in November 2012. I would like to continue serving the District and working to improve education for our families. My goal is simple-to continue to understand what the District's organizational and operational strengths are and how I can provide leadership to make it better. There are never simple answers to running a school district and I don't have simple answers to propose. I promise to carefully think about the district's vision and mission, listen to our community, and have a voice in decisions that benefit of the education of our students and community. My time on the board has made me aware of the challenges of our district faces and the importance of having strong leadership on the Governing Board. Our Board has a duty to the community that voted us into the office and to the employees who serve our students. As a Board member I am responsible to fulfill the obligations and leadership you have entrusted me with, and make fiscally and educationally sound decisions-not politically based ones.

[6]

Office of the Pima County School Superintendent, (2014), [7]

Rebecca Quintero

My interest in serving on the Sunnyside Unified School District School Board is to promote positive change that will benefit our children. I believe in our children and the importance of their development into responsible citizens. I want to build a strong and cohesive school board, to rebuild community trust, to restore transparency and communication and to return our ratings to A+ and Blue Ribbon Schools.

I have been a strong advocate and steadfast community leaders for the past forty years working tirelessly to enact programs that engage and education the youth of this District so that they may actively pursue opportunities that will benefit others on a larger, more global scale.

[6]

Office of the Pima County School Superintendent, (2014), [8]

Mike Polak

Mike will be:

  • A Sunnyside School Board Member who knows and understands the needs of the district and community. Mike will respect and respond to input from the Sunnyside Community and Staff, represent district voters, provide responsible and accountable fiscal oversight of scarce taxpayer dollars, demand financial and personal accountability from the Superintendent.
  • Supportive of the Children, Parents, Teachers, Principals and all district staff. Guarantee to the community that their voices will be heard on district matters by listening and initiation of positive change based on their feedback.
  • An active and engaged member of the board and community, ensuring school district resources are being spent prudently and properly.
  • Involved in evaluating all school district departments to make sure that all department heads are performing at the level of standards and practices required.

[6]

Office of the Pima County School Superintendent, (2014), [9]

Louie Gonzales

I am a proud member of the Sunnyside Unified School District community, which is why I desire to continue to serve on the SUSD board. I want to continue to help our District, community and students fulfill their education goals. I am committed to every child in Sunnyside, making hard decisions that produce a benefit for the children and the community as a whole without allowing political pressures to influence my decisions. I support the investments the District has made an early childhood education such as the Pre-K programs at the award winning Ocotillo Early Learning Center. At Ocotillo, we have laid the foundation for a love of learning which is the basis for academic and lifelong success for our kids. I will also continue my support of the professional growth of our teachers by ensuring the District provides a respectful and collaborative work environment

[6]

Office of the Pima County School Superintendent, (2014), [10]

Eric Griffin

He is a candidate for the Sunnyside Unified School District No. 12 Governing Board. His 12 years of experience as a Governing Board Member make him uniquely qualified to help restore our district to one that puts our kids first, restores fiscal responsibility and once again a staff valued placed to work. Where are all students, all residents and all district employees can again, be proud members of the Sunnyside Family. A vote for Eric Griffin is an investment in our children's future.

[6]

Office of the Pima County School Superintendent, (2014), [11]

Recall supporter arguments

The recall effort was led by a group called Sunnyside Recall 2013. The group was made up of local residents who opposed Superintendent Manuel Isquierdo. Garcia and Gonzales were supporters of the superintendent along with board member Eva Carrillo Dong. Isquierdo received criticism for various personal actions, including using bankruptcy to avoid foreclosure on his home, owing $150,000 in back taxes, having his driver's license suspended for failing to pay fines, using his district credit card for questionable purchases and using athletes in the district's effort to promote the passage of school bonds measures. Board members Buck Crouch and Daniel Hernandez, Jr. opposed Isquierdo. A recall effort against Crouch and Hernandez began in August 2013, but did not move forward after supporters declined to turn in signatures.[1]

Buyout of superintendent

Isquierdo requested a buyout from the school board following the results of the May 20, 2014 recall election. The board approved a buyout by a 3-2 vote during a meeting in early June 2014. Isquierdo will receive $499,500 between June 2014 and December 2015 in exchange for leaving the district with two years remaining on his contract. Recalled board members Bobby Garcia and Louie Gonzales voted to approve the buyout prior to the swearing-in of their replacements.[4]

Petition language

Recall supporters submitted petitions against Garcia and Gonzales prior to gathering signatures for a recall election. The following language was used to justify the recall effort prior to the collection of signatures and did not appear on the ballot. The petition against Garcia read:

To increase respect for our children's educational needs, insure better academic outcomes, to eliminate the current culture of fear and intimidation among teachers and classified staff, to effectively represent the taxpayers and families of this community, and to insure financially sound board decisions, we the qualified electors of the Sunnyside Unified School District demand the recall of Bobby Garcia, Sunnyside Governing Board Member. The grounds of this demand for recall are:

  • Failure to respect and respond to input from the Sunnyside Community and Staff
  • Failure to represent district voters
  • Failure to provide responsible and accountable fiscal oversight of scarce taxpayer dollars
  • Failure to demand financial, programmatic and personal accountability from the Superintendent

[6]

Arizona Public Media, (2013), [12]

The petition against Gonzales read:

To increase respect for our children's educational needs, insure better academic outcomes, to eliminate the current culture of fear and intimidation among teachers and classified staff, to effectively represent the taxpayers and families of this community, and to insure financially sound board decisions, we the qualified electors of the Sunnyside Unified School District demand the recall of Louie C. Gonzales, Sunnyside Governing Board Member. The grounds of this demand for recall are:

  • Failure to respect and respond to input from the Sunnyside Community and Staff
  • Failure to represent district voters
  • Failure to provide responsible and accountable fiscal oversight of scarce taxpayer dollars
  • Failure to abide by election laws by pressuring district athletic teams with threat of withdrawal of funding for teams that did not participate in distribution of bond arid override election literature
  • Failure to properly notify and provide background information to all board members resulting in an inability by some board members to make informed and effective decisions.
  • Failure to recuse himself from board decisions involving hiring family members

[6]

Arizona Public Media, (2013), [12]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing recall in Arizona

Recall supporters had to collect 1,345 signatures from registered voters in the district for both Garcia and Gonzales by November 14, 2013 to trigger a recall election.[1] The group collected about 1,455 signatures to recall Gonzales and more than 1,417 for Garcia, totaling nearly 2,900 signatures. The Pima County School Superintendent’s Office processed the signatures and sent the names to the Pima County Recorder’s Office. County elections officials certified signatures on January 3, 2014 and the school superintendent scheduled the election on January 10, 2014. Linda Arzoumanian, the county school superintendent, estimated that the mail-in election would cost $98,000 based on 30 percent turnout.[13][14][15]

About the district

See also: Sunnyside Unified School District, Arizona
Sunnyside Unified School District is located in Pima County, Arizona
Sunnyside Unified School District is located in Tucson, the county seat of Pima County, Arizona. Tucson is home to 524,295 residents, according to the United States Census Bureau.[16] Sunnyside Unified School District is the 13th-largest school district in Arizona, serving 17,615 students during the 2010-2011 school year.[17]

Demographics

Tucson underperformed in comparison to the rest of Arizona in terms of higher education achievement in 2010. The United States Census Bureau found that 24.2 percent of Tucson residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 26.6 percent for Arizona as a whole. The median household income in Tucson was $36,939 compared to $50,256 for the state of Arizona. The poverty rate in Tucson was 24.4 percent compared to 17.2 percent for the entire state.[16]

Racial Demographics, 2010[16]
Race Tucson (%) Arizona (%)
White 69.7 73.0
Black or African American 5.0 4.1
American Indian and Alaska Native 2.7 4.6
Asian 2.9 2.8
Two or More Races 4.2 3.4
Hispanic or Latino 41.6 29.6

Presidential votes, 2000-2012[18]
Year Democratic vote (%) Republican vote (%)
2012 52.5 45.6
2008 52.4 46.2
2004 52.5 46.5
2000 51.0 43.0

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100.0%. Each column will add up to 100.0% after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages.[19]

Recent news

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See also

External links

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Arizona Daily Star, "Second Sunnyside recall launched," August 20, 2013
  2. Arizona Public Media, "Two Sunnyside Board Members Recalled," May 20, 2014
  3. Tucson News Now, "New Sunnyside board sworn in, appoints interim Superintendent," June 4, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 Arizona Public Media, "Sunnyside Supt Gets $500K Buyout, Calls It 'Best for Everyone'," June 5, 2014
  5. Arizona Daily Star, "Recall effort against two Sunnyside board members called off," December 14, 2013
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  7. Office of the Pima County School Superintendent, "Bobby Garcia," accessed June 10, 2014
  8. Office of the Pima County School Superintendent, "Rebecca "Beki" Quintero," accessed June 10, 2014
  9. Office of the Pima County School Superintendent, "Mike Polak," accessed June 10, 2014
  10. Office of the Pima County School Superintendent, "Louie Gonzales," accessed June 10, 2014
  11. Office of the Pima County School Superintendent, "Eric Griffin," accessed June 10, 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 Arizona Public Media, "Application for petition to recall," accessed August 28, 2013
  13. Arizona Daily Star, "Sunnyside school board recall petitions filed," Jamar Younger, November 15, 2013
  14. Arizona Daily Star, "Sunnyside recall certified for the ballot," January 4, 2014
  15. Arizona Daily Star, "Details for Sunnyside recall election set," January 11, 2014
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 United States Census Bureau, "Tucson, Arizona" accessed April 22, 2014
  17. National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed April 22, 2014
  18. Pima County, "Past Election Results," accessed April 22, 2014
  19. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014