(Updated Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 2:59 p.m.)


They're back: A group seeking to recall three Hesperia Unified School District school board members have formally started the process again.


"The recall committee by certified mail yesterday served Hardy Black, Robert Kirk and Lee Rogers their recall notices," group spokeswoman Lori Nielson said Wednesday.


The new Notices of Intention to Circulate a Recall Petition were sent to the trio by certified mail, and outline a revised list of the group's grievances. The three board members have a week to respond in writing, and then the pro-recall group will compile the grievances and the written responses into a petition. The San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters must then certify the petitions -- one for each board member the group is attempting to recall -- comply with election law. Once approved, the group can begin collecting signatures from registered voters within the territory of the HUSD.


But it was the approval by the registrar that tripped up the group last time: Small typos, such as words not being italicized or getting the number of a board member's great-grandchildren wrong, led to the registrar sending the petition drafts back to the group for revision repeatedly. On October 22, the deadline for turning in the latest draft, fire and high winds closed the Cajon Pass, preventing Nielson from getting the petition draft down to the registrar of voters in San Bernardino. Election law requires the registrar to have the original documents, not faxes or e-mailed documents. With the group missing the deadline, round one of the recall was over.


The decision by the group to begin the recall process was news to at least one board member.


"I hadn't given it any thought one way or the other, to be honest," Rogers said Wednesday, during her lunch period at Maverick High School in Victorville, where she teaches English. She had not yet received the notice by certified mail.


"Someone confused April Fool's with Halloween," quipped Mark Kirk on Wednesday. Kirk, the son of board vice-president Robert Kirk, is also the chief of staff for 4th District Supervisor Gary Ovitt.


This time around, Nielson said, the group has an updated list of grievances:


"School Board Members should always make decisions based on what is best for children," the notice reads in part. "In order to continue effective instructional programs and build modern, well maintained safe facilities, they must keep the district financially solvent.


"Actions taken by Hesperia Unified School District Board Member Lee Rogers" -- there are three identical notices, one for each of the targets of the recall effort -- "indicate that she has betrayed the trust of concerned parents and employees of the community by consistently ignoring their input about serious issues. Examples:



"Forcing Superintendent [Hank] Richardson's retirement costing taxpayers over three hundred thousand dollars.
"Thousands spent on unnecessary attorney fees caused by controversial and reversed Board decisions regarding the construction of Oak Hills High School.
"Acting as a Union Leaders' pawn by freezing the hiring of vital classified staff, such as security personnel, custodians and secretaries.
"Micromanagement of staff resulting in loss of dedicated administrators.
"Elimination of effective sixth grade schools, in spite of proven instructional benefits.
"Ignoring demand for parent input on calendar change until after public outcry.

"We urge you to join us in supporting the recall of Lee Rogers," the notice concludes. If approved by the registrar, the document will be the one presented to residents by petition signature-takers. "Mismanagement of our tax dollars and giving priority to union requests over the needs of our students warrant her immediate removal.


"Hesperia students deserve better."


The original list of grievances can be found online at the group's Web site, HesperiaEducationFirst.com. If the recall petitions are approved this time, the recall group will need to gather approximately 6,919 signatures -- or 20 percent of the 34,596 registered voters living in the HUSD in order to get the question of whether to recall the three put before the voters in a special election next year.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.