LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Two school board members are facing potential recall efforts following a Litchfield Elementary School District board meeting that got out of control Tuesday. The crowd began shouting when board member Kimberly Moran interrupted a speaker by flashing sign, but a parent group says board member Jeremy Hoenack has been fanning the flames.
Cynthia Schwartz was commenting on the district's new equity statement when she says board member Kimberly Moran held up a sign that read "not true."
Daniel Quist, a parent with children in LESD, accuses Hoenack of running a misinformation campaign. He says Hoenack is sharing inaccurate information on a website claiming the district is trying to help Black and Hispanic students at the expense of white students.
"All board members need to keep their politics out of this," says Quist.
Months ago, the LESD school board approved a mission statement promising to consider curriculum and hiring and discipline practices to improve equity. Approval of the "equity statement" followed a presentation to the board showing Black and Hispanic students are not testing as well as white students in some areas of study.
Quist says he closely followed board discussions on the equity statement. "They took the data, they said OK, we have a problem, let's fix the problem," says Quist. "It's important to do and I support it."
Other parents and community members disagree with the board's move and call the equity statement racist. "This program is going to cause [students] to care more about skin color as opposed to getting educated," says attorney and AM talk radio show host Mike Siegel.
Siegel is part of Arizona Parents Defending Education which encouraged people to attend the Tuesday board meeting to "promote education, not indoctrination." The website also includes video clips of board member Hoenack on TV news programs alleging that school leaders are making dangerous curriculum changes behind closed doors.
Siegel echoes these claims, and does not believe the district is being transparent when it says there is no equity program, just an equity statement. "It's very cute to say we're going to only have this as a private discussion. I think they intend to do it," says Siegel.
Siegel confirms Hoenack has connections with Arizona Parents Defending Education and its website but says the group is working to separate from the board member. "They're working with getting the corporation commission filings done to make the separation," says Siegel. "That will happen legally as well as practically in the very near future."
In a phone call, Hoenack told Arizona's Family the board is trying to push "critical race theory," and those who support it are "trash" and "don't care about students." "This was just a handy issue to get people worked up to serve a future political goal," says Quist. Quist says he is prepared to launch a recall effort against Hoenack.