School Board Recalls and Education-focused Research Updates from Ballotpedia

LAS VEGAS, May 29, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Ballotpedia, the nation’s premier source for unbiased information on school board and education-focused politics and policy, today announced its new analysis and research offerings to coincide with the annual Education Writers Association (EWA) National Seminar. Ballotpedia’s new information includes: attendance zone research, education-related 2024 ballot measures, and school board recall elections.

“We’re so thrilled to be attending EWAs 77th annual national seminar….and we hope that our latest research offerings will help bring additional awareness and insights into the intricacies of our education system,” said Ballotpedia Editor-in-Chief, Geoff Pallay.

Attendance zone research

Most public school K-12 students in the U.S. attend a school based primarily on their residential address. The dividing lines that sort students based on residence determine for most students the quality of the public education available to them.

Critics of using attendance zones argue that since they discriminate based on residential address, they are also racially and socioeconomically discriminatory and a violation of the idea of equal protection and equal public education for all.

Proponents of using attendance zones argue that they define and provide dedicated funding for traditional public schools, especially neighborhood schools, and that doing away with them would harm public schools.

Ballotpedia’s in-depth attendance zone research delves into this important area and the existing attendance zone policies in districts around the country. The research focused on 45 districts across 17 states and key findings include:

  • 56% of districts did not have clear, objective standards for determining school capacity.
  • The most common hurdles preventing parents and guardians from transferring their students through open enrollment include
    • school capacity,
    • application date ranges and deadlines,
    • conditions and qualifications,
    • tuition and transportation,
    • deterrent information presentation or accessibility, and
    • surrounding districts or schools not accepting transfers.

Click here to see Ballotpedia’s full research on attendance zones.

Education-related ballot measures in 2024 

So far this year, seven education-related ballot measures are on the ballot in Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. An additional 19 statewide measures may appear on ballots this year. One measure in Washington was slated for the ballot but was removed after legislators enacted the measure (more below).

Notable current ballot measures or initiatives include:

  • California Require Personal Finance Course for High School Graduation Initiative: This is the first state ballot measure to address curriculum since at least 2000. If approved, the measure would first apply to those graduating during the 2029-2030 academic year. The measure would also require a personal finance course to be offered by the 2026-2027 academic year.
  • Florida Amendment 1, Partisan School Board Elections Amendment: Amendment 1 would make school board elections partisan beginning in 2026. Over 90% of school boards nationwide are elected without any party labels. State laws in four states containing 878 school districts (6.65%) provide for party labels on the ballot for school board elections.
  • Washington Initiative 2081, Parental Right to Review Education Materials, Receive Notifications, and Opt Out of Sexual-Health Education Initiative: Initiative 2081 is not on the ballot in Washington as an Initiative to the Legislature, a type of indirect initiated state statute. From 1912, when the state’s initiative process was established, to 2023, just six Initiatives to the Legislature (ITLs) have received legislative approval. With three approved this year, the total increases to nine, a 50% increase.

Click here to learn more about education-related ballot measures.

School board recalls

Frequent causes for school board recall efforts this year include budget issues, school closures, and administrator terminations. Other causes observed for multiple recall efforts include board member behavior, book removals, curriculum decisions, and school mascots.

Ballotpedia has tracked 27 school board recall efforts against 55 board members in 2024. Nine board members faced recall elections earlier this year. Five retained their seats, and four were removed from office. Two board members with recall efforts started against them resigned this year. Efforts against 19 board members ended without going to a vote, and efforts against another 19 board members are still underway. Three recall elections against six board members have been scheduled for later this year. 

All three upcoming recall elections are for school board members in California.

  • Joseph Komrosky, member of the Temecula Valley Unified School District Board of Education, faces a recall election on June 4. In the Sunol Glen Unified School District, Ryan Jergensen and Linda Hurley face recall elections on July 2.
  • In the Reef-Sunset Unified School District, three members—Claudia Cazares, Lilia Rizo, and Lissette Padilla—face recall elections on November 5.
  • The four board members who were removed from office in recall elections so far this year served on school boards in California and Nebraska.
  • In Nebraska, Terri Cunningham-Swanson lost a recall election after she revised Plattsmouth Community Schools’ policy for media materials. The revision to the policy led to 52 books being pulled from library shelves while a committee reviewed whether or not they should be removed from the district. All but one of the books was returned to shelves.
  • In California, Emily MacDonald was removed from her position on the Woodland Joint Unified School District board of trustees, and Rick Ledesma and Madison Miner were removed from their positions on the Orange Unified School District Board of Education. The recall effort against MacDonald started after she made a statement about the transgender community during a school board meeting. Ledesma and Miner were included in a recall effort after they voted to fire the district’s superintendent with two other members of the board. The board did not give a reason for the decision.

For more information about school board recall efforts, click here

About Ballotpedia

Ballotpedia, the encyclopedia of American politics, is the nation’s most trusted source of unbiased information on politics, elections, and policy. Founded in 2007, Ballotpedia has grown from a small group of dedicated volunteers working on a handful of ballot measures to an essential resource for voters, media, and researchers. Ballotpedia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the public interest in creating an educated, engaged electorate, and building a strong, healthy democracy. For free access to 480,000+ encyclopedic, professionally authored and curated articles, visit

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