ENCINITAS — In a bulletin sent to teachers’ union members this week, the San Dieguito Faculty Association acknowledged it will not obtain the necessary signatures to trigger a recall election of Trustee Michael Allman, unceremoniously ending a monthslong campaign to unseat the first-time school board official.
In the message, Duncan Brown, president of the San Dieguito Faculty Association, acknowledged that while the union won’t force a special recall election, the group has been successful in highlighting issues with the trustee.
“Over 4,000 residents of Area 4 signed the petition and thousands more district-wide are now aware of the dysfunction of our school board majority,” Brown wrote.
The teachers union needed 4,999 verified signatures to trigger a recall election of Allman but the union apparently felt it would not reach the mark by next week’s deadline.
The dissolution of the recall campaign comes just days after The Coast News reported third-party employees hired by the teachers union to collect signatures made several unfounded claims, such as alleging Allman is a closet racist and is trying to put religion in schools.
Brown also noted in his communiqué that the recall effort allowed the union to more directly express their concerns with the board to families in the district.
“Our door-to-door campaign allowed us to have substantive conversations with registered voters, many of whom were simply unaware of the recent plight of our district,” Brown wrote. “Engaging with the community in this way also reinforced how much our dedicated teachers are valued in our school community.”
Brown did not respond to a request for comment.
In comments to The Coast News, Allman expressed his hope for the future of the district.
“I have always put students and families first, and my decisions will always be made with this as my guide,” Allman said. “As long as we have a majority of our School Board who feel the same way and are not afraid to do the right thing, we have a bright future ahead of us. I’m hopeful that we can now get back to work and focus on our key mission – making our schools the best they can be while serving the needs of parents and students.”
The recall effort began in August, with parents, faculty and students coming together to express their dissatisfaction with Allman, who won his seat on the school board in November 2020 with 42.3% of the vote.
Since taking office, the trustee has been the focus of controversy particularly involving a private Facebook group that was originally used for his campaign but that he no longer moderates. Allman’s wife continues to serve as a group administrator on the page.
Allman’s opponents claim the social media page consists of threats to families and teachers from other parents and Allman.
Now with the recall effort likely in the rearview, a newly elected trustee in Julie Bronstein and a new permanent superintendent in Dr. Cheryl James-Ward who began her tenure this month, the district board appears settled for the first time in months.
Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, capital improvement projects on the docket and union labor negotiations pending, the school board’s stability may prove vital for a district that may continue to show scars after a tumultuous two years.