Five Lose School Board Seats in Recall Vote Over Hmong Busing
Five school board members who approved a plan to bus Asian students into mostly white grade schools were ousted in a recall election. The five people who beat them Tuesday had promised to reverse the plan.
About 16% of the district’s 8,800 students are children of Hmong refugees from Laos who settled in the area after the Vietnam War.
The busing plan was approved, 6 to 3, in June and took effect this fall. It was designed to integrate Hmong students from central city schools into outlying schools with mostly white, middle-class students.
The plan blended the classes of three grade schools with a high percentage of minorities with three schools with relatively few minorities. The change requires about 600 students to be bused about two miles from their neighborhood schools.
The school board said the plan would help solve language problems among Asian students, promote diversity and provide equal education for all. But critics said it wrongly dismantled neighborhood schools and disrupted families.
A sixth board member who also voted for the plan, Ya Yang, is from Laos. He could not be recalled because he had not yet served a full year on the board.