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Recall of 2 Sunol School Board Members Appears Headed to Victory

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School officials are sitting behind desks with a microphone in front of them.
Trustee Ryan Jergensen (center) listens to public comment during a Sunol Glen Unified School District governing board meeting in Sunol on March 12, 2024. Jergensen and Trustee Linda Hurley (right) will face a recall election in July. (Kathryn Styer Martínez/KQED)

A campaign to recall two of the three school board members in the Sunol Glen Unified School District appears headed to victory — with early results on Tuesday evening showing that roughly 54% of voters in the rural East Bay community have voted to remove trustee Ryan Jergensen and 53% of voters support the removal of trustee Linda Hurley.

The recall marks the latest ouster of local education officials in California accused of pursuing overly conservative policies on gender identity and LGBTQ expression. In Sunol, like other communities this year, the flashpoint was a restriction on flags, including the Pride flag.

Only one member remains on the board: Ted Romo, who frequently sparred with the board majority. The Alameda County Board of Education is expected to temporarily fill at least one of the seats with an appointment.

“It feels good for all the work and energy that we’ve put into it,” said Matthew Sylvester, a district parent who helped organize the recall.


“A lot of us got caught unaware of what was happening, and now we’ve had to move toward recall because there has been zero compromise,” Sylvester added. “We want the school to operate well, we want no drama, no contentiousness and just to get back to how the school used to be run, which was very well.”

When reached by email Tuesday evening, Jergensen declined to comment.

The school board fight bitterly divided residents in Sunol, an unincorporated community of roughly 900 residents tucked between Fremont and Pleasanton. Meetings at the district’s only school, Sunol Glen School, regularly escalated into shouting matches and signs for and against the recall-peppered driveways along the town’s winding hillside roads.

Calls for removing Jergensen and Hurley grew louder after their vote last September to ban the flying of flags other than the U.S. and California flags on district property. Jergensen defended the decision as a way to protect the district from potential lawsuits over which flag the district allows to fly, but many community members viewed it as a direct response to the district superintendent’s decision to fly the Pride flag the previous June.

Similar issues have roiled historically sleepy school boards across the state. Voters in March removed two trustees in the Orange Unified School District who had passed their own flag restrictions and a policy requiring school staff to notify parents when students identify by a name, gender or pronouns that differ from their official records.

A transgender reporting law was central to another successful recall last month in Riverside, where board president Joseph Komrosky was removed from the Temecula Valley Unified School District.

Together, the recalls could mark a turning point after conservatives across the country focused explicitly on gaining ground in school board elections, which in California are nonpartisan.

“The national question, especially for the politics of education and the politics of school boards, centered around what’s going to happen when we have this conservative takeover of a school board?” said Jonathan Collins, co-director of the Politics & Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University on KQED’s Forum.

“What we’re seeing with these recalls are the consequences of some of these board members who have actually delivered,” he said.

Financial support for the recall in Sunol came largely from the union representing district educators, continuing a trend of union support for this year’s school board recalls. The California Federation of Teachers spent nearly $30,000 to support the removal of Jergensen and Hurley.

The Alameda County Republican Party supported the campaign to oppose the recall but reported no financial activity since the end of 2023.

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