Campaign to recall PVUSD trustee Georgia Acosta says it is ready to move forward
The “Committee to Recall Georgia Acosta” gave the embattled Pajaro Valley Unified School District trustee notice of its intent to petition her recall — after gaining the required 20 signatures from district residents — at a board of trustees meeting Wednesday night.
After gathering the required 20 signatures from district residents, the Committee to Recall Georgia Acosta announced at a board of trustees meeting Wednesday night it is ready to move forward with its effort to oust the embattled Pajaro Valley Unified School District trustee.
In a video message played at the meeting, campaign manager Carol Turley said Acosta “failed to fulfill the duties and responsibilities entrusted to her as a governing board member.”
“Trustee Acosta has failed to attend 26 board meetings, failed to participate in PVUSD committees and failed to regularly meet with the district superintendent to provide oversight, accountability and solutions,” Turley said.
Acosta is a business owner and adjunct faculty member at CSU Monterey Bay. She was first elected to the PVUSD board in 2016, representing Trustee Area II — encompassing northeastern Watsonville and extending to the Santa Clara County line.
Acosta came under fire in January surrounding her involvement in the brief ouster of PVUSD Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez, who was reinstated days later amid a wave of public backlash. Acosta was ousted from her role as board president during the fallout, and was met with calls to resign or face recall.
Then in March, her colleagues on the board formally censured Acosta over a litany of issues, including missing 26 meetings during her time in office and for her conduct around the brief dismissal of Rodriguez in January. Other questions have been raised about her interactions with district staff and around emails appearing to show behind-the-scenes coordination over board business.
Acosta could not immediately be reached for comment, and has not responded to numerous requests for comment from Lookout made over the course of months.
The recall campaign anticipates a special election could be called in March 2022 to bring the question to voters in Acosta’s trustee area.
But first recall supporters will have to clear several hurdles, the largest of which is gathering signatures from 25% of registered voters in the trustee area over the next several months.
Jane Barr, a recall committee member and former trustee at PVUSD and the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, said the group is prepared for a potentially heavy lift to bring the recall question to voters.
Commitments are already secured to raise more than $5,000 in campaign cash, Barr said. The committee is working with a political consultant and is preparing to mail a recall petition to every household in the trustee area. And the group plans to make calls and canvass door to door and at local grocery stores.
“A recall is a lot of work and it’s always a bit iffy, but I think that we have a group of people who are truly dedicated to this,” Barr said. “We have some people, like me, who are obstinate and want to see it through because we feel that it’s not OK for someone to be elected to a job and then basically ignore it.”
No school board member has ever successfully been recalled in Santa Cruz County, according to records that date back to 1974. The most recent attempt to recall school board members in the county, in 2015, never reached the ballot.
The Pajaro Valley Trustee Areas
- Acosta is expected to be served with the intent to recall notice Thursday or Friday in person, and the notice has also been sent to her via certified mail, according to Barr.
- Once Acosta is served, the recall campaign will have a week to file the notice with county election officials, who will verify the signatures. Acosta will then have seven days to write a formal response — though that step isn’t mandatory.
- Next is the biggest hurdle. The campaign will have to gather more signatures from at least 25% of registered voters within Trustee Area 2 over a 90-day period. About 8,600 voters are registered in Acosta’s trustee area, meaning recall supporters would have to collect at least 2,150 signatures
- Once those signatures are verified the PVUSD board would have 14 days to call a recall election — which must take place 88-125 days later. That would place the election around March 2022.