Monday's school board meeting was noteworthy for what happened -- and for what didn't.


Hesperia Unified School District school board president Robert Kirk resigned his presidency.


And the man who has targeted him with a recall attempt, fellow school board member Chris Bentley, did not get served with the counter-recall he had predicted.


On March 9, Bentley announced his intention to recall Kirk, calling the board under Kirk's leadership a "dictatorship." Kirk responded by announcing that he would resign from the board 60 days after recall papers were filed. But a week later, Kirk said he'd received an outpouring of support from community members and his decision about resigning would have to wait until after the April 6 meeting, and feedback from the community.


When April 6 arrived, the school board's meeting chamber in the HUSD's Educational Support Center Annex was full to overflowing, with chairs and a live video feed set up in adjacent room for the extra attendees.


But most of them missed the start of the fireworks. The public portion of the meeting began at 6 p.m., but the board consults on legal and personnel matters behind closed doors starting at 4 p.m. Monday afternoon, Kirk addressed those few in attendance before the start of closed session, announcing he would not be stepping down from the board, but he would be resigning from the board presidency, effective immediately. Board vice-president Lee Rogers presided over the meeting in his stead.


But it was April 6, and those who wanted to speak about the recall attempt had shown up in force.


Of the 23 people who spoke at Monday night's meeting, 18 discussed the proposed recall of Kirk. Of those, only three spoke out in favor of the recall. The rest, all current and former HUSD teachers, many of them at the high school level, spoke in praise of Kirk's honesty and integrity.


But the night's predicted big event didn't occur.


Bentley had written to Victor Valley papers last week, predicting the Kirk family would serve him with recall papers, perhaps as soon as the school board meeting.


"Kirk the Elder and [Kirk's son, Mark], or whoever they get to do the actual deeds, are simply trying to threaten and intimidate me like they have done to many others," Bentley's letter reads in part. "Kirk-camp threats will not sway my commitment to the students of HUSD, their parents, the wonderful employees of our district, and the huge number of voters who elected me to the office. I ran because I care about kids and they need a voice on the HUSD board; now more than ever."


But the meeting ended at 11 p.m. with no announcement of a recall attempt.


Bentley and Kirk, once united in a mutual distrust of previous HUSD superintendents and school boards, have feuded almost from the moment Bentley took his seat on the board in December 2008. Bentley has accused Kirk of improperly conducting board business outside of public session. Prior to his recall announcement, Bentley's primary weapons against Kirk were procedural ones, with Bentley arguing that Kirk, as board president, was not complying with board bylaws in the way he conducted board meetings. Kirk, in turn, accused Bentley of wasting the board's time during a period where its full attention was needed to deal with the state's budget crisis and the subsequent district budget and staffing cuts.


(The state budget passed in February included $14.8 billion in spending cuts, including $7.4 billion in cuts for schools and community colleges this year, and an additional $3.2 billion next year. Last year, 70 percent of the HUSD's $160 million budget came from state revenues. Layoffs were all but inevitable for the district: More than 80 percent of the unrestricted portion of the budget is salary and benefits.)


In the meantime, Bentley's recall against Kirk goes forward: He has delivered the draft of his recall petition to the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters, which has 10 days to review the petition. If it passes legal muster, Bentley will have 120 days to gather the 6,919 signatures to put the question on the ballot.


Kirk has survived this process before: He, Rogers and fellow board member Hardy Black survived a recall attempt in the winter of 2007 and spring of 2008 led by former board member Lori Nielson.


The next meeting of the HUSD school board will be held on Monday, April 20, at 6 p.m. in the HUSD Educational Support Center Annex, 15576 Main Street.


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