Last November's school board election was no simple watershed. The shift in power has turned into a veritable torrent of change and unsettling uncertainty. The three who were elected - Dr. Robert Kirk, Lee Rogers and Hardy Black - promised to make daring decisions, and they surely delivered on that declaration.

The recent departure of Superintendent Hank Richardson under a cloud of secrecy is just the latest of several unexpected bold moves by the board:

* Earlier in the year, the board voted 3-2 - Bruce Minton and Helen Rogers are typically on the losing end of such decisions - to transform the sixth-grade-only Cypress and Oxford academies into kindergarten through sixth-grade facilities.

* They also proposed changing the HUSD school calendar into one similar to Apple Valley's. Although the idea may have deserved consideration, many in the community felt it was foisted upon them, and the idea eventually died.

* But the move that received the most ire - along with a notice of an intent to recall the trio - was when the three voted to hire one firm over a group of highly qualified and experienced school construction contractors.

The decision to accept Richardson's "resignation" humanizes the power that the new board members wield. A longterm and respected member of the HUSD's management team, certainly Richardson's expertise could have been better utilized here in Hesperia rather than sitting at home while being paid $165,000 a year.

And so the board is faced with two extremely important decisions over the next few months: 1) Appoint a new construction firm to preside over the building of Oak Hills High School, and 2) Hire a new school superintendent. Depending on how they perform, the board could either redeem itself or demonstrate that a recall is warranted. They dug these holes, the community should give them ample opportunity to dig themselves out.

Recalling members of a school board is a very serious act that should not be done capriciously. Hesperia should not resort to a mob mentality. The community needs to act carefully and respectfully.

But ultimately, the school district and its elected officials serve the needs of the students whose education comes first and foremost. We must ensure the school district is doing just that, even if it means going back to the polls.