Tagschool board elections

Recall effort against Nebraska school board member submits signatures

An effort to recall Chris Waddle from his position as president of the Giltner Public Schools Board of Education in Nebraska filed petition signatures on Oct. 12. The Hamilton County Clerk’s Office has 15 business days to verify the signatures. If 119 signatures are verified, a recall election will be scheduled.

The recall effort was started by Jamie Bendorf, a resident of Giltner, in August. On the recall petition filing form, Bendorf wrote, “Christopher Waddle doesn’t hold the best interest of the patrons in the Giltner School District.” In a statement about the recall effort, Bendorf said parents felt like the administration had dismissed their concerns. She also said she was concerned about families leaving the district.

In response to the recall, Waddle submitted the following statement: “We have a strong administrative team, the finest teachers and staff, the highest enrollment of students in years and the district is in a good financial position for the future […] These things happen when you have a school board with the right vision for the future. A recall under these conditions is not in the best interest of our school.”

Ballotpedia has tracked 80 school board recall efforts against 207 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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Twenty-two candidates are running for 9 seats in Atlanta Public Schools elections

Nine seats on the Atlanta Public Schools school board—three at-large and six district seats—are up for general election on Nov. 2, 2021. Twenty-two candidates qualified to run in the race by the Aug. 20, 2021 filing deadline. If necessary, a runoff election is scheduled for Nov. 30, 2021.

Six incumbents are seeking re-election: Cynthia Briscoe Brown (At-Large District 8), Jason Esteves (At-Large District 9), Aretta Baldon (District 2), Michelle Olympiadis (District 3), Erika Yvette Mitchell (District 5), and Eshé Collins (District 6). Three incumbents are not seeking reelection: Kandis Wood Jackson (At-Large Seat 7), Leslie Grant (District 1), and Nancy Meister (District 4).

With one-quarter of APS students enrolled in charter and partner schools, standards for renewing and expanding charter schools have been a major issue in this race. In 2018, the board voted 5-4 to allow KIPP Metro Atlanta, a network of charter schools, to continue to operate until 2023 when the charter must be renewed or terminated. Of the incumbent candidates in this election, Esteves and Collins supported the KIPP charter, while Brown, Mitchell and Olympiadis opposed it.

COVID-19 response policies, including mask and vaccine mandates, are also an issue. In addition to implementing a school-wide mask policy and mandatory twice-weekly testing requirement for staff for the 2021-2022 school year, Atlanta Public Schools released a statement on Oct. 7, 2021, saying the school district would “continue to study the feasibility and need for a vaccine mandate in our district.”

The 2021 election is the last election when every board seat is up for election simultaneously. Georgia’s HB 1075 changed the state’s school board election process so that members’ terms are staggered. The candidates who win in odd-numbered districts will serve a two-year term ending December 31, 2023. Candidates who win seats in even-numbered districts will serve a four-year term ending Dec. 31, 2025.

Atlanta Public Schools is located in northwestern Georgia in Fulton County and DeKalb County. It is classified as a large city school district by the National Center for Education Statistics. The district served 52,377 students during the 2018-2019 school year and comprised 89 schools.



Loudoun County Circuit Court rules school board recall may advance to trial

An effort to recall Beth Barts from her position as the Leesburg District representative on the Loudoun County Public Schools school board in Virginia moved forward at a pre-trial hearing on Oct. 5. At the hearing, a Loudoun County Circuit Court judge ruled that the recall effort could advance to a full trial, denying Barts’ motion to dismiss the petition against her since it was not signed by an attorney.

The judge also granted the recall petitioners’ request to appoint a special prosecutor to take the place of Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj. Recall supporters said Biberaj was a friend of Barts’. The case will go to trial after the special prosecutor is named.

In Virginia, recall efforts are determined in circuit court rather than at the ballot box. Virginia also requires certain reasons to be met for a recall to move forward, including neglect of duty, misuse of office, incompetence, or conviction of misdemeanors related to drugs or hate crimes. Recall supporters must collect signatures ​​equal in number to 10% of the votes cast in the last election for that office. The recall effort against Barts needed 1,176 signatures. Recall supporters announced they collected 1,860. They submitted the petition signatures on Aug. 25.

Recall supporters are also circulating petitions against another four members of the nine-member school board. They said they launched the effort due to school board members’ involvement in a private Facebook group. They said the board members’ involvement in the group was a violation of Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act as well as the school board’s Code of Conduct because the members discussed public matters in a private setting. Recall supporters also alleged that the district was using Critical Race Theory in its employee training and student curriculum, which they opposed.

Interim Superintendent Scott Ziegler said the district uses a Culturally Responsive Framework that “speaks to providing a welcoming, affirming environment and developing cultural competence through culturally responsive instruction, deeper learning, equitable classroom practices and social-emotional needs for a focus on the whole child.” He said the district did not use Critical Race Theory in its staff training or student curriculum.

Barts was first elected to a four-year term on the board on November 5, 2019. She received 54.8% of the vote and defeated one other candidate. Though school board elections are nonpartisan, Barts is supported by the Loudoun County Democratic Committee.

Loudoun County Public Schools served 81,906 students during the 2018-2019 school year.

Ballotpedia has tracked 74 school board recall efforts against 192 board members so far in 2021—the highest number of school board recall efforts we have ever 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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Recall elections scheduled for four Wisconsin school board members

Recall elections seeking to remove four of the seven members of the Mequon-Thiensville School District Board of Education in Wisconsin are being held on Nov. 2, 2021. Board members Wendy Francour, Erik Hollander, Akram Khan, and Chris Schultz are on the ballot. The candidate filing deadline is Oct. 5. If more than two candidates file in any race, the Nov. 2 election will become a primary, and a general election will be held on Nov. 30.

Recall supporters said they started the recall due to concerns about the school district’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, critical race theory, a decline in academic performance metrics, and an inability to get answers from board members. The other three members of the board were not eligible for recall as they had not served in the office for at least one year.

A spokeswoman for the district said, “MTSD’s focus remains on advancing our vision and planning for a robust learning experience for all students for the 2021-2022 school year.”

To get the recall on the ballot, recall supporters had to collect approximately 4,200 signatures per board member in 60 days. The number of signatures was equal to 25% of the votes cast in the 2018 gubernatorial election in the school district. Supporters submitted more than 4,400 signatures on Aug. 23. All four members named in the recall petitions filed challenges against the petitions on Sept. 2. Recall supporters submitted a rebuttal to the challenges on Sept. 7. The challenges were sustained when it came to duplicate signatures but were not sustained on other matters. The petitions were found to be sufficient on Sept. 21, allowing the recall elections to be scheduled.

Ballotpedia has tracked 67 school board recall efforts against 174 board members so far in 2021—the highest number of school board recall efforts we have tracked in one year since beginning this coverage in 2010. 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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Loudoun County Circuit Court judge recuses himself, delays recall hearing

A hearing on a recall petition seeking to remove Beth Barts from her position as the Leesburg District representative on the Loudoun County Public Schools school board in Virginia was delayed after Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge Stephen E. Sincavage recused himself. The hearing, initially scheduled for Sept. 13, was delayed until Sept. 15.

In Virginia, recall efforts are determined in circuit court rather than at the ballot box. Virginia also requires certain reasons to be met for a recall to move forward, including neglect of duty, misuse of office, incompetence, or conviction of misdemeanors related to drugs or hate crimes. Recall supporters must collect signatures ​​equal in number to 10% of the votes cast in the last election for that office. The recall effort against Barts needed 1,176 signatures. Recall supporters announced they collected 1,860. They submitted the petition signatures on Aug. 25.

Recall supporters are also circulating petitions against another six members of the nine-member school board. They said they launched the effort due to school board members’ involvement in a private Facebook group. They said the board members’ involvement in the group was a violation of Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act as well as the school board’s Code of Conduct because the members discussed public matters in a private setting. Recall supporters also alleged that the district was using critical race theory in its employee training and student curriculum, which they opposed.

Interim Superintendent Scott Ziegler said the district uses a culturally responsive framework that “speaks to providing a welcoming, affirming environment and developing cultural competence through culturally responsive instruction, deeper learning, equitable classroom practices and social-emotional needs for a focus on the whole child.” He said the district did not use critical race theory in its staff training or student curriculum.

Barts’ attorney filed a motion to dismiss the petition against her since it was not signed by an attorney. He also asked the circuit court judges to recuse themselves from the case because it involved local officeholders.

Barts was first elected to a four-year term on the board on Nov. 5, 2019. She received 54.8% of the vote and defeated one other candidate. Though school board elections are nonpartisan, Barts is supported by the Loudoun County Democratic Committee.

Loudoun County Public Schools served 81,906 students during the 2018-2019 school year.

Ballotpedia has tracked 64 school board recall efforts against 165 board members so far in 2021— the highest number of school board recall efforts we have ever 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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Colorado school district filing deadline is this week

The filing deadline to run for election to Colorado school boards is on Aug. 27. Ballotpedia is covering prospective candidates who file to run in the following school districts:

  1. Academy School District 20
  2. Adams 12 Five Star Schools
  3. Aurora Public Schools
  4. Bennett School District
  5. Cherry Creek School District
  6. Cheyenne Mountain School District 12
  7. Colorado Springs School District 11
  8. Denver Public Schools
  9. Douglas County School District
  10. Falcon School District 49
  11. Harrison School District Two
  12. Jeffco Public Schools
  13. Manitou Springs School District 14
  14. School District 27J
  15. St. Vrain Valley School District
  16. Widefield School District 3

The general election is scheduled for Nov. 2.

These 16 school districts served a combined total of 533,272 students during the 2016-2017 school year. 

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Eight of nine Birmingham City Schools seats on the ballot Aug. 24

The general election for Birmingham City Schools in Alabama is on Aug. 24. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the two candidates with the most votes will advance to the general runoff election scheduled for Oct. 5. The filing deadline to run passed on July 10.

Candidates filed for all nine seats on the Birmingham Board of Education. The District 7 race was canceled, and incumbent Walter Wilson was declared re-elected without appearing on the ballot. Wilson won election to the seat in a special election earlier this year. All eight remaining districts will appear on the ballot.

Three incumbents did not file for re-election, meaning one-third of the school board seats are guaranteed to go to newcomers. Four seats will not go to a runoff election because two candidates filed, meaning one candidate will receive a majority of the vote in the general election. Of the remaining four seats, three have three candidates competing, and one has four candidates on the ballot.

By comparison, five incumbents did not seek re-election when the board was last up for election in 2017. After one incumbent was defeated, six seats, or two-thirds of the board, went to newcomers. Five races were decided in runoff elections.

Birmingham City Schools served 23,777 students during the 2017-2018 school year.

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Birmingham City Schools, Alabama

Birmingham City Schools elections (2017)



Filing deadline approaches to run for school board in Texas

The filing deadline to run for school board in seven Texas school districts is on Aug. 16. Prospective candidates may file to run in the following districts:

  1. Aldine Independent School District (3 seats)
  2. Alief Independent School District (3 seats)
  3. Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District (3 seats)
  4. Houston Independent School District (5 seats)
  5. Klein Independent School District (2 seats)
  6. Lake Worth Independent School District (2 seats)
  7. Spring Independent School District (2 seats)

The general election is scheduled for Nov. 2. 

These seven districts served a total of 530,658 students during the 2018-2019 school year.



22 states allow for the recall of school board members

Of the 39 states that allow for the recall of elected officials at some level of government, 22 specifically allow for the recall of school board members. School board recalls are the process of removing school board members from office via a public effort before their term is completed.

Six of the states that allow school board recalls require specific grounds to be met in order for a recall effort to move forward, such as malfeasance or misfeasance in office.

The number of signatures required to get a school board recall on the ballot varies by state. Common factors for calculating the signature requirement include the size of the board member’s jurisdiction and the number of votes cast in a previous election. In all but one of the states, recall elections are held if enough signatures are collected. Virginia is the exception. If enough signatures are collected in that state, a trial is held at the circuit court level.

The amount of time recall petitions are allowed to be circulated also varies by state. Georgia, Nebraska, and North Carolina have the shortest petition circulation time with 30 days. Out of the states that have a time limit for circulating petitions, Washington has the longest with 180 days. New Mexico, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Virginia do not have a time limit for petition circulation.

Between 2006 and 2020, Ballotpedia covered an average of 23 recall efforts against an average of 52 school board members each year. The number of school board recalls in 2021 has surpassed that average with 57 efforts against 143 members as of Aug. 3. This is the highest number of school board recalls Ballotpedia has tracked in one year since our tracking began in 2010. The next-highest was in 2010 with 39 efforts against 91 school board members.

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29 candidates file for 14 school board seats in Manchester, New Hampshire

On July 23, the filing deadline passed to run for elected office in the Manchester School District in New Hampshire. The primary is scheduled for September 21, and the general election is scheduled for November 2, 2021. 

Candidates filed for all 14 of the school district’s Board of School Committee seats–two at-large seats and 12 ward-specific seats. Ten incumbents are running for re-election, including two at-large members and eight ward-specific members.

The Manchester School District served 13,452 students during the 2018-2019 school year. 

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