Attempt To Recall Gateway School Board Trustees Lindsi And Elias Haynes Is Underway

Thirty-two community members have signed intent-to-recall notices for two Gateway Unified School District Board Members. Here’s why some want to recall the married couple . . . and what to expect next.
Elias Haynes is served with a Notice of Intent to recall at the Gateway Board meeting on April 19. Photo by Annelise Pierce.

Lindsi and Elias Haynes have served on the Gateway Unified School District Board for less than six months. But they’re already facing a potential recall.

On Wednesday, April 19, the Hayneses, who represent Gateway’s Area 3, known as the Buckeye area, were served with Notices of Intent to Circulate a Recall Petition by members of a grassroots community organization known as the Save Gateway Committee.

That action starts the time clock on an attempt at recalling the Haynes that could bring the issue Buckeye voters during a special election in November, 2023.

Lindsi Haynes was elected to her position last fall. Her husband, Elias Haynes, was appointed as a school board member the same month, after running for the position unopposed. Both have faced numerous concerns about their approach to District leadership since taking their positions last fall. 

As part of a new Board majority seated in November, the Hayneses enacted a number of immediate changes in the District, including appointing themselves to positions of leadership on the Board and firing long-standing District Superintendent Jim Harrell, without cause.

The Hayneses were joined in those efforts by Cherrill Clifford, another newly elected Board member who resigned from her position in February after only three months in office. She and the Hayneses have both faced serious criticism, including a lawsuit alleging a failure to follow Board policies and a cease-and-desist letter from one of California’s largest teacher’s unions alleging multiple Brown Act violations.

Over past months, the Hayneses have walked back several earlier Board votes in attempts to correct their past actions. But more recently, their failure to collaborate with Board members Phil Lewis and Dale Wallace on selecting a Board member to replace Clifford has further angered the community. 

The Board of four has deadlocked three times over the last several months on choosing an appointee to take Clifford’s role. That inability to work together has left the Board without a fifth member for the next nine months, as they wait for a special election for the position in November. 

A portion of the NOI to recall Elias Haynes. Lindsi Haynes received an almost identical document.

Save Gateway representatives Bobbie Simpson and David Thompson presented the intent-to-recall notices during Gateway’s last regular Board meeting as a number of audience members stood to show support.

Lindsi and Elias Haynes each thanked Simpson and Thompson as they were handed their NOIs. They did not respond to a request for comment from Shasta Scout. 

A representative of the Save Gateway committee said the group’s NOI, which was filed with the Shasta County Elections Office on April 20, has already been approved.

Here’s what to expect next: 

  • The NOI to recall the Hayneses will be published in the Intermountain News on Wednesday, April 26
  • The Hayneses may choose to respond to the NOI by April 27th. That response is informational only and will not change the ability of proponents to continue to pursue a recall. 
  • Within ten days of the Hayneses’ answer of the NOI, or by no later than May 8, recall proponents must create a petition of recall and submit it to the local elections official. That recall petition must include an estimate of the cost of holding a special election, as determined in conjunction with the Shasta County Elections Department. 
  • Once the local election official approves that recall petition as having been submitted correctly, community members may begin gathering the signatures needed to initiate a recall election. A minimum of 2,025 signatures, or 25% percent of the voters of Area 3, are needed to move forward with pursuing a recall for each of the Hayneses. 
  • If the correct number of signatures are gathered, submitted and verified by the Shasta County Elections Department within 90 days of the approval of the recall petition, the recall election will be held in conjunction with the special election for Gateway’s vacant Board seat, which is scheduled for November 7, 2023.
  • If the voters choose to recall one or both of the Hayneses, the remaining Board members will have 60 days either to appoint their replacement(s) or to order an election for the vacant seat(s).

Want to learn more about recalling elected officials? Here’s the California guide.

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