County Certifies Petitions to Recall Two Orange Unified Trustees

County Certifies Petitions to Recall Two Orange Unified Trustees

An Orange Unified School Board meeting in Orange, Calif., on Sept. 7, 2023. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)

Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

10/26/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

The campaign to remove two of the Orange Unified’s conservative board members in the Southern California school district is moving forward after the Orange County Registrar of Voters last week certified enough petition signatures to trigger an election.
Orange County Registrar Bob Page certified both petitions to recall Board President Rick Ledesma and Trustee Madison Miner on Oct. 20.
While each petition required 13,046 valid signatures to move forward, recall leaders said they submitted more than 18,000 signatures each for both Mr. Ledesma and Ms. Miner.
Mr. Page estimated 15,016 signatures to be valid for Mr. Ledesma’s petition and 14,736 for Ms. Miner’s.
The county’s petitions are certified by examining a random sample of the signatures on each petition.
The certificates will be submitted to the board at its Nov. 16 meeting. Then, within 14 days, it must set a date for a recall election. If the board fails to act, the registrar would determine its date.
The election must be held within 88 days and no more than 125 days after the issuance of an order for the election.
Mr. Ledesma has been elected to the OUSD board three times since 2014, and was reelected to a four-year term in November 2022 along with Ms. Miner, who is serving her first four-year term.
Orange Unified School Board President Rick Ledesma speaks at a board meeting in Orange, Calif., on June 20, 2023. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)

Orange Unified School Board President Rick Ledesma speaks at a board meeting in Orange, Calif., on June 20, 2023. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)

Orange Unified School Board Trustee Madison Miner speaks at a board meeting in Orange, Calif., on Sept. 7, 2023. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)

Orange Unified School Board Trustee Madison Miner speaks at a board meeting in Orange, Calif., on Sept. 7, 2023. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)

Ms. Miner’s election flipped the board’s majority conservative, and from then it made several controversial decisions.
In January, the majority voted to fire its longtime superintendent, Gunn Marie Hansen, and place Assistant Supt. Cathleen Corella on leave pending an academic audit.
And in June, it adopted a “parent’s bill of rights,” which grants district parents and guardians the right to know what their children are being taught and the right to be heard by district leaders.
The same month, it also adopted a policy allowing only the U.S. and state flags to be flown on district and school flag poles—which critics called homophobic, saying it was a move to ban LGBT Pride flags from being displayed in classrooms.
In September, the school board also passed a parent notification policy that will require schools to notify parents if their child identifies as transgender, amid a statewide debate over the issue.
Ms. Miner told The Epoch Times in a previous interview that she believed there was more work to be done within the district.
“While these are significant strides made during my tenure, our work to restore Orange Unified to its former glory and potential is not yet complete,” she said. “That’s why I pledge to focus my efforts on fixing our curriculum in the upcoming months and ensuring that our students receive a valuable education marked by quality and excellence.”
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Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

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Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.

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