Buck Crouch and Daniel Hernandez Jr recall, Sunnyside Unified School District, Arizona (2013)

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An effort to recall Buck Crouch and Daniel Hernandez, Jr. from their position on the Governing Board of Sunnyside Unified School District in Arizona was launched in August 2013.[1] The effort did not go to a vote after supporters failed to turn in signatures, saying they did not want the school district to have to pay for two recall efforts. The school district will have to pay for the recall election of board President Louie Gonzales and board member Bobby Garcia, likely in the spring of 2014.[2]

Background

The recall effort was led by Marcos A. Castro. Castro was part of a group that supported Superintendent Manuel Isquierdo; board members Crouch and Hernandez were critics of the Superintendent. 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 avoiding paying fines, using his district credit card for questionable purchases, and using athletes in the district's effort to promote the passing of school bonds measures. Board members Eva Carrillo Dong, Bobby Garcia and Louie Gonzales supported Isquierdo; they believed he helped improve the school's technology level and graduation rate. A recall effort against Garcia and Gonzales began in July 2013, and an election will be held in 2014.[1]

Prior to his position on the Board, Hernandez was an intern for former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, and was credited as one of the people who saved her life when she was shot in 2011.[3][4]

Petition language

The petition against Crouch read:[5]

School board members are responsible for decisive action in all areas that affect students and staff in schools. Some roles and responsibilities are implicit. Others are specifically mandated (A.R.S. §15-341) or allowed (§15-342) by Arizona law. Everything board members do is focused on providing the best education possible for the children in their community. I believe Buck Crouch refuses to accept the board's roles and responsibilities, putting the district in a vulnerable position. He is deceitful when communicating information to our community. He lacks integrity and does not understand the importance of honesty. His communication via television, social media and radio are outright disrespectful toward our children and district staff.

He has repeatedly demonstrated that he does not have the courage to make difficult decisions and withstand criticism from people who hold opposing views. He is deceitful in his communication with the community and does not strive to be knowledgeable about policies and programs in order to make informed decisions. The school. district has made significant improvements yet his behavior has splintered our community planting doubt in our families.
Although there has been extensive training of the legal aspects of the policies and procedures of the board, he continues to disregard them. He compromises the Board and/or administration, and does not respect the confidentiality of information that is privileged under applicable law. He does not render his decisions based on the available facts and his independent judgement; he surrenders that judgment to individuals or special interest groups.[6]

The petition against Hernandez read:[5]

Local school boards are at the heart of this country's public education system. A board's role should be based on the belief that local control of public education makes schools flexible and responsive to the needs of the community. It is important that board members have personal attributes that allow them to be effective; this is to include the code of ethics by which they are expected to abide by. I believe that the actions demonstrated by Daniel Hernandez's behavior demonstrate ineffectiveness and portrays a negative image to our school district. He clearly does not understand that the reputation of the entire school district is reflected in his behavior and negative attitude towards school personnel. He needs to learn that the success in achieving board goals and implementing ideas requires a team approach.

He has repeatedly demonstrated that he does not have the courage to make difficult decisions and withstand criticism from people who hold opposing views. He is deceitful in his communication with the community and does not strive to be knowledgeable about policies and programs in order to make informed decisions. The School district has made significant improvement yet his behavior has splintered our community planting doubt in our families. He has involved his family in his negative campaign against the district making unsubstantiated accusations against other board members. Since elected to has missed several board meetings, he has also not physically attended other meetings. This demonstrates that he has personal engagements that do not allow him to invert the significant time and energy to be present. Therefore he should not represent out community.[6]

Hernandez recall flyers

Recall flyers supporting the recall of Hernandez drew some attention from national media outlets because they attacked Hernandez's sexual orientation. One flyer read, "Put a REAL Man on the Sunnyside Board[.] Daniel Hernandez is LGBT[.] We need someone who will support [s]ports and cares about our kids. We don't need someone who hates our values[.] RECALL Daniel Hernandez TODAY[.]" Castro told reporters that the flyers were real, but denied responsibility for them.[4]

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 Crouch and Hernandez by December 14, 2013 to trigger a recall election. Supporters collected the signatures but did not turn them in.[1][2]

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