Education

Three Golden Valley school trustees to face recall election

Three Golden Valley Unified trustees will face recall elections, a move that comes amid community concern over a board vote this winter that forced out Superintendent Andrew Alvarado.

Two of the trustees fighting to keep their seats — John Moseley and Carla Neal — were elected to their first terms on the Madera County board just months ago. A third trustee, Kathleen Crumpton, is also facing possible recall.

The three voted to oust Alvarado in February without explanation and over stiff opposition from the board’s other two members and hundreds of parents and teachers who supported him. Alvarado’s buyout cost the district $135,699. His removal came the same night Selma Unified’s board kicked out its superintendent.

Those who led the signature collection say Alvarado’s departure is driving the campaign.

“We fell asleep during the (November) election but the community has woken up,” said parent Michele Stephens. She said several hundred parents showed up to speak to the board the night Alvarado was removed but many never got a chance.

“(The board) didn’t listen to what the community had to say,” she said. “That just set people into an outrage.”

This frustration was one reason why Stephens helped found the recall group Parents, Teachers and Taxpayers to Recall Crumpton, Moseley and Neal 2015. The organization submitted well over the number of required signatures from voters in the areas the trustees represent. The Madera County Clerk certified the signatures this month, kicking off the recall election process.

Moseley, a father of three, said he plans to run on the same themes he promoted during his campaign last fall. Back then, he joined the race after getting the go-around from the school board when he brought concerns about a lack of restroom facilities at his daughter’s school sports events.

Similar to his message then, Moseley said he’ll emphasize his commitment to being responsive to voters’ concerns. He touted his accomplishments so far, including a plan that cut back on the district’s annual auditing costs.

He declined to talk about the recall campaign’s accusations and about the superintendent’s removal. But he said Alvarado chose to “separate from the district on his own volition.”

Of the recall campaign, he said it’s premature and that the district estimates it will cost $20,000.

It’s an expense “the district does not need to bear,” Neal said in an email to The Bee. She said the recall campaign is misguided, and that in conversations with families she represents, “many are supportive of me.”

Crumpton said she too is hearing words of support from her constituents. In an email, she called the recall an effort of an “upset vocal minority” who “have made vague accusations unsupported by facts.”

The school board is expected to review the clerk’s certification at its next meeting on April 21, the interim superintendent’s office said this week. The board then has 14 days to set an election date. As required by election code, the vote would be held within 88 to 125 days.

Tim Orman, the group’s campaign consultant, said the county clerk can step in if the district doesn’t schedule an election.

Potential challengers are already stepping up, Stephens said. But she declined to give names, noting no challengers have yet filed candidacy forms.

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