Kansas school board recall election defeated

A recall election seeking to remove Amy Sudbeck from her position as the District 1 representative on the Nemaha USD 115 Board of Education in Kansas was on the ballot on Nov. 2. The majority of votes were cast against the recall, keeping Sudbeck in office.

The recall effort started after a majority of board members voted in April and May to keep the district’s policy to require mask-wearing due to the COVID-19 pandemic rather than changing the policy to say masks were recommended. The recall petition said Sudbeck failed to perform her duties and “violated Kansas Statute 60-5305 by not allowing parents to make decisions regarding the healthcare of their children when attending school.”

In response to the recall, Sudbeck said, “It’s unfortunate that this issue has caused division in our community. I voted with the majority to allow our kids freedom to participate in activities, stay in school and keep them out of a quarantine invoked by the health department.”

Three signatures were required to get the recall on the ballot, and the clerk verified eight signatures.

Sudbeck was appointed to her position on the seven-member board in 2020, and she sought re-election in 2021. She advanced from the primary on Aug. 3 and was on the regular election ballot in addition to the recall election ballot on Nov. 2. She won re-election.

Ballotpedia has tracked 84 school board recall efforts against 215 board members so far in 2021—the highest number of school board recall efforts we have tracked in one year. The next-highest year was in 2010 with 38 recall efforts against 91 school board members.

In the first half of 2021, Ballotpedia tracked 164 recall efforts against 262 officials. This was the most recall efforts for this point in the year since the first half of 2016, when we tracked 189 recall efforts against 265 officials. In comparison, we tracked between 72 and 155 efforts by the midpoints of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

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