2 Conservative Orange Unified Trustees Officially Recalled

2 Conservative Orange Unified Trustees Officially Recalled

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

Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

3/29/2024

Updated: 4/1/2024

Two Orange County school board trustees, who sparked controversy for their conservative stances, have been officially removed from their seats on the Orange Unified School District board.
According to the Orange County Registrar of Voters, 53 percent of voters during the March 5 election approved the removal of Madison Miner from the board, as did 54 percent for the removal of Rick Ledesma, the board’s former president.
The Orange County registrar of voters certified the election results March 22.
Mr. Ledesma and Ms. Miner were not immediately available for comment.
Both board members’ elections in November 2022 flipped the board’s majority conservative.
Mr. Ledesma has been elected to the Orange Unified School District board three times since 2014 and was reelected to a four-year term in 2022 along with Ms. Miner, who was serving her first four-year term.
In a recent Instagram post, the recall campaign thanked voters for “choosing competence over chaos and corruption.”
“Your support of public education for all students truly matters,” it stated.
Orange Unified School Board Member Madison Miner speaks at a board meeting in Orange, Calif., on June 20, 2023. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)

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

The recall campaign cited the trustees’ abrupt firing of its superintendent last year as well as several subsequent controversial decisions as reasons for the recall.
It claims that the board brought forth “shocking proposals to every board meeting in 2023,” including attempts to “censor libraries,” and “discriminate against special needs and LGBTQ students.”
In January 2023, the board majority voted to fire its longtime superintendent, Gunn Marie Hansen, and place Assistant Supt. Cathleen Corella on leave pending an academic audit.
Additionally, last June, the board adopted a “parent’s bill of rights,” which grants district parents and guardians the right to know what their children are being taught and 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.
Finally, in September, the school board also passed a parent notification policy that requires schools to notify parents if their child identifies as transgender, amid a statewide debate over the issue.
It’s unclear what the remaining board members will do to fill the two empty seats.
According to the school district’s bylaws, the board can now call for a special election, wait until the general election in November to fill the vacancies, or vote on appointing new trustees.
Gunn Marie Hansen with Taft Elementary kindergarten students on their first day of school in Orange, Calif., on August 2019. (Courtesy of Orange Unified School District)

Gunn Marie Hansen with Taft Elementary kindergarten students on their first day of school in Orange, Calif., on August 2019. (Courtesy of Orange Unified School District)

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Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

Author

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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