Recall effort against two Sunnyside board members called off

2013-12-14T00:00:00Z 2014-01-24T15:13:16Z Recall effort against two Sunnyside board members called offBy Jamar Younger Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The citizens group that opposed Sunnyside Unified School District board members Buck Crouch and Daniel Hernandez Jr. will not pursue a recall election against the two men.

The group told the Pima County School Superintendent’s Office on Friday that it would not turn in any signatures, with group members citing concerns about the school district paying for two recall elections.

Friday was the deadline for the group to turn in signatures.

Sunnyside will already have to pay for one recall election, likely in the spring, after another group turned more than 4,300 signatures last month to recall board President Louie Gonzales and board member Bobby Garcia.

That recall election will cost Sunnyside $102,793, according to the superintendent’s office.

“We agreed, if the override failed, we couldn’t pursue it and put an additional burden on the district,” said Gonzales, referring to a budget override voters rejected last month.

Gonzales was involved in the recall petition drive against his two fellow board members, which was initiated in August, about a month after the recall drive against him and Garcia began.

He said there might be another campaign next year targeting Hernandez, who is up for re-election in 2014.

The two recall drives illustrated a longstanding conflict between board members and residents who support Sunnyside Superintendent Manuel Isquierdo and those who oppose his leadership.

Gonzales, Garcia and board member Eva Carrillo Dong are Isquierdo’s most staunch supporters, crediting him for increasing student graduation rates and access to technology.

Hernandez and Crouch have criticized the superintendent for what they describe as unethical behavior, bullying, nepotism and other issues.

Some community leaders began a recall drive against Gonzales and Garcia after those two, along with Dong, voted in June to extend Isquierdo’s contract for another two years.

The recall drives led to contentious board meetings, accusations and board members filing complaints against each other with the Pima County Attorney’s Office and Arizona attorney general.

The Pima County Recorder’s Office is currently reviewing the signatures from the recall petitions against Gonzales and Garcia.

No one has stepped forward as a potential candidate, mostly because an official election hasn’t been called yet.

Contact reporter Jamar Younger at jyounger@azstarnet.com or 573-4242. On Twitter: @JamarYounger

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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