Huntington Beach : Trustees Vote to Close School; 2 Face Recall Bid

On a night when members of the Huntington Beach City School District voted to close one school, a group formed in opposition to the closure of yet another school told two trustees of an intended recall campaign against them.

Dr. Gary Nelson and Karen O’Bric were served with notices of the recall effort by representatives of “Save Our School--Burke” at the board’s Tuesday night meeting. The organization, headed by resident Ed Zschoche, claims the board could have cut administrative costs to offset declining enrollment, rather than voting to close Burke Elementary School. The closure is expected to save the district $200,000.

Zschoche said administrative costs have risen while enrollment declined by about 3,000 students in the last 10 years. “We don’t believe it’s right to close schools while we can still tighten up in administration,” Zschoche said. He added cutbacks could include layoffs, “if that’s what it takes.”

The group must collect a total of 8,000 signatures to put Nelson and O’Bric up for recall on the November ballot. The other three board members aren’t subject to the recall effort, said Zschoche, because their terms expire this year and SOS-Burke will support other candidates in the upcoming election.


O’Bric said the recall is “so stupid I haven’t inquired any further into it” and theorized that a small group of residents, headed by Zschoche, was behind it.

The board voted unanimously Tuesday to close Gisler Middle School on June 30, 1986. Gisler’s approximately 500 students will attend classes at Sower Middle School.

The Gisler closure will bring the district’s total number of schools to eight.