School board member Robert Kirk has survived the latest attempt to recall him from office.

"I want to thank the citizens of Hesperia for their continued support through three failed recall attempts," Kirk said at Monday night's meeting of the Hesperia Unified School District school board, reading from a prepared statement he later made available to the Hesperia Star as a letter to the editor.

Since being elected in November 2006, Kirk has been the subject of two recall attempts -- launched by former board member Lori Nielson -- that attempted to recall him and fellow board members Lee Rogers and Hardy Black. The second of those ended in April 2008, with Nielson reportedly falling 1,500 signatures short of the 6,919 signatures required to call a special election.

A year later, fellow school board member Chris Bentley began another recall attempt, this time just targeting Kirk. Friday, October 2, was the deadline for him to turn in the 7,687 required to call a special election. (The number of signatures is based on the number of people who voted in the last HUSD election.)

According to Mary Lou Mongar, an election technician with the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters, Bentley's the Recall Robert Kirk campaign committee only raised $500 -- from former board member Bruce Minton -- and ended up turning in no petition signatures at all.

Signatures were collected, Bentley said on Tuesday, but there was no point in turning them in unless he had gotten enough.

"It's binary: You've either got enough, or you don't," he said. "And I don't."

The recession and the off-year between election years are to blame, according to Bentley.

"Recalls take cash," he said. "Raising political capital in an off election year, during bad economic times, is extremely difficult."

Unsurprisingly, Kirk sees things differently and says that the voters support him, despite Bentley's allegations that Kirk micromanages district employees and wastes millions of taxpayer dollars.

"This last recall in particular should serve as a horrible example of what damage two people, one current board member and one past, can do to a community for purely political reasons," said Kirk. "I've cherished the many prayers and words of encouragement I've received over the last few months, and I'm hopeful the destructive actions of a few misguided individuals are behind us for good.

"I'm proud of the many accomplishments this school district has experienced during the past few years. Test scores are as a whole are up, new schools have been built to alleviate overcrowding, and new police officers have been hired to increase student safety. Although we should never stop striving to better our schools, we should all take pride in the hard work of the faculty and staff of Hesperia Unified. This district has seen some of its most difficult days, yet through perseverance our schools have improved.

Knowing what he knows now, Bentley said he would still have waged his recall attempt.

"Absolutely, absolutely. Robert Kirk is the worst thing that has ever happened to the Hesperia Unified School District. Bar none."

"It's clear the citizens of Hesperia stand behind their decision to elect me to the school board," Kirk said Monday night, concluding his remarks. "I do not take this lightly and will continue to serve you to the best of my ability."

The next regular meeting of the HUSD school board will be held on November 2 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. Follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/HesperiaStar.