Patricia Pellett

Patricia Pellett had taken out petitions for a recall against three SUSD Governing Board members.

Efforts to recall four Scottsdale Unified School District governing board members have failed.

The deadline to turn in signatures to recall Jann-Michael Greenburg, Patty Beckman, Julie Cieniawski and Libby Hart-Wells passed without any petitions being submitted, according to the Maricopa County School Superintendent’s office Tim Sifert.

The Maricopa County School Superintendent’s website lists all four recall campaigns as failed.

 Leaders of the recall attempt had until Dec. 18 to garner 20,935 signatures for each board member in order to get on the November 2022 ballot. 

Greenburg and Beckman’s terms expire at the end of next year while Cieniawski and Hart-Wells’ expire at the end of 2024.

Nicole Curtis took out the application to recall Patty Beckman while Patricia Pellett took out the application to recall Greenburg, Cieniawski and Hart-Wells.

Pellett, who also ran the website, thanked everyone who worked on the campaign. 

She initially had been upset with the district’s online learning and quarantine policy because of their impact on her special needs child but later became alarmed by what she saw as racism and sexual content in the school curriculum and later by Greenburg’s controversial dossier.

She urged her supporters to continue questioning the governing board through the website. Curtis did not return the Progress’ phone calls for comment. 

Hart-Wells said she remained focused on the district’s business throughout the process.

“While I did not pay it any ado, I’m disappointed for our community that the non-student, non-education distractions sucked up time and energy,” Hart-Wells said. “Despite it all, I remain laser focused on students, teachers and staff collective needs and addressing the student and education-focused challenges that a 51st place in student-investment national rank places on our kids, families and communities.”

Beckman said it’s time to move forward.

“Our dedicated and passionate parents, teachers and administrators may not always agree on each issue or the specific path forward, but they will never stop working toward a better Scottsdale Unified School District,” she said. “Despite my disappointment that a recall effort was undertaken by some members of our community, I choose to hope that 2022 will bring a collaborative effort from all to support the excellence SUSD has known for 125 years.”

The board has been under attack by myriad groups since the school year began.

The faction getting its message out the loudest may be the anti-maskers who oppose the district’s mask mandate. 

Crowds protested the mandate at several schools, including Cocopah Middle School and Cherokee Elementary School at the beginning of the year. They also repeatedly dominated the public comment section of school board meetings, repeatedly becoming rowdy and disrespectful to anyone who voiced an opposing view point. 

The loose knit group even excoriated Greenburg on social media when a photo was snapped and circulated of him not wearing a mask at a local bar.

The school district will make masks optional when it reopens this week for the spring semester. 

Other groups unhappy with the board have protested what they see as Critical Race Theory in the district’s curriculum. School administration officials say CRT is not taught in the district’s 29 schools.

The general anger at the board elevated to another level when it came out Greenburg had access to a dossier purportedly created by his father that Arizona Attorney Mark Brnovich claimed “contained parents’ and students’ personal information, such as social security numbers, emails and other correspondence with the SUSD Board and perhaps school officials, automobile license plate numbers, photos and videos  (some secretly recorded) of parents and minor students, background checks, divorce proceedings, social media accounts, and parent addresses.” 

The existence of the dossier even made news in the United Kingdom.

All his fellow school board members – except for Cieniawski – called for Greenburg’s resignation, which he refused to do, and stripped him of his rank as president of the board.

Brnovich called for the FBI to investigate the situation. Scottsdale Police did just that and found no criminal activity surrounding the dossier. 

The department in an announcement said the dossier “contained opensource and/or public documents” and that “therefore, it has been determined that no criminal conduct has been committed at this time that would be under the jurisdiction of the Scottsdale Police Department.

“The Scottsdale portion of this investigation is now closed,” the statement continued, adding detectives met with the FBI and state Attorney General’s office and “provided them with a copy of our investigation for review in determining if any criminal acts might fall under their respective jurisdictions.” Detectives also briefed the Maricopa County Attorney.

The SUSD administration is also investigating the situation to determine if any school resources were used improperly.