Tagschool board elections

Spring elections held in Wisconsin

The statewide nonpartisan general election for Wisconsin was held on April 6. The primary was held on February 16, and the filing deadline to run passed on January 5. Candidates ran in elections for special elections in the Wisconsin State Legislature, three judgeships on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, and in municipal and school board elections.

Wisconsin State Legislature

• State Senate District 13: John Jagler (R) defeated four candidates to win the special election, winning 51.2% of the total (37,385) reported votes. The seat became vacant after incumbent officeholder Scott Fitzgerald (R) was elected to the U.S. House to represent Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District on Nov. 3. Fitzgerald vacated his seat on Jan. 1.

• State Assembly District 89: Elijah Behnke (R) defeated challenger Karl Jaeger (D) to win the special election. Behnke received 60.3% of the total (8,413) votes, while Jaeger received 39.7% of the votes. The seat became vacant on Dec. 2, after John Nygren (R) resigned his seat to work in the private sector.

Wisconsin Court of Appeals

• In District 1, Judge Maxine A. White won re-election unopposed.

• In District 2, Judge Jeffrey Davis was defeated by challenger Shelley Grogan.

• In District 3, newcomer Greg Gill Jr. defeated Rick Cveykus.

Ballotpedia also covered local elections in the following areas:

• Dane County and Milwaukee County

• The cities of Madison and Milwaukee

• DeForest Area School District

• Madison Metropolitan School District

• McFarland School District

• Middleton-Cross Plains School District

• Milwaukee Public Schools

• Sun Prairie Area School District

• Verona Area School District

Additional Reading:



Milwaukee voters elect four new members to the Board of School Directors

On April 6, Milwaukee voters elected four new members to serve on the Milwaukee Board of School Directors. The Board of School Directors oversees the Milwaukee Public Schools, Wisconsin’s largest school district. Four of the board’s nine seats were up for election.

Aisha Carr, Jilly Gokalgandhi, Marcela Garcia, and Henry Leonard will be sworn in on April 26, after winning their respective elections.

All four seats were open after three incumbents did not file for re-election and the fourth, Annie Woodward, did not submit the required number of signatures to appear on the ballot. Two of the four seats were uncontested: Garcia and Leonard ran unopposed in the races for Districts 6 and 7, respectively.

The elections in District 4 and 5 were both contested. In District 4, Carr, a former high school teacher in the district, defeated Dana Kelley, a community organizer and assistant pastor. In District 5, Gokalgandhi, an equity in education strategist, defeated Alex Brower, the former president of the district’s substitute teachers’ union.

Carr received endorsements from several local legislators including state Sen. Lena Taylor (D) and Rep. David Bowen (D). Gokalgandhi received endorsements from five incumbent school board members including Larry Miller, her district’s outgoing incumbent.

Both Kelley and Brower received endorsements from the local and national Democratic Socialists of America and Milwaukee County Supervisor, Ryan Clancy.

This election will change the number of school board members endorsed by the city’s largest teachers’ union, the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA). Following the 2019 school board elections, all nine members had been endorsed by the MTEA for “the first time in memory” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Annysa Johnson.

The number of MTEA-endorsed school board members will decrease to six. Both Kelley and Brower had been endorsed by the union. The union endorsed Leonard in the uncontested District 7 race and did not issue an endorsement in the uncontested District 6 race.



Wisconsin general election to be held April 6

The statewide general election for Wisconsin is on April 6. The primary was held on Feb. 16, and the filing deadline to run passed on Jan. 5. Candidates are running in elections for the following offices: 

• Superintendent of Public Instruction

• Special elections for state Senate District 13 and Assembly District 89

• Wisconsin Court of Appeals

Ballotpedia is also covering local elections in the following areas: 

• Dane and Milwaukee Counties

• The cities of Madison and Milwaukee

• DeForest Area School District

• Madison Metropolitan School District

• McFarland School District

• Middleton-Cross Plains School District

• Milwaukee Public Schools

• Sun Prairie Area School District

• Verona Area School District

Milwaukee is the 31st-largest city in the United States by population, while Madison is the 82nd. The seven school districts holding elections on April 6 served 132,027 students during the 2016-2017 school year.

Wisconsin has a divided government where no political party holds a state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Assembly and Senate, while Governor Tony Evers is a Democrat.

Additional Reading:



Recall against San Francisco school board members approved to circulate petitions

The San Francisco Department of Elections approved petition circulation to begin this week in the effort to recall part of the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education. Three members—Gabriela López, Alison Collins, and Faauuga Moliga—were named in the recall paperwork. Recall supporters have until September 7 to collect 51,325 signatures.

Recall supporters said they were frustrated that schools in the district remained closed for nearly a year in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. They also criticized the board for spending time voting to rename 44 district buildings. On February 21, López announced that the board was putting the building renaming on hold in order to focus on re-opening schools.

All three board members named in the recall petitions were first elected to the board on November 6, 2018. They received the most votes in the at-large election and defeated 16 other candidates. The other four members of the board were not eligible for recall at the same time as López, Collins, and Moliga since they had not served in their current terms for six months yet. They were either elected or re-elected to the board on November 3, 2020.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 227 recall efforts against 276 elected officials. Of the 50 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 30 were recalled for a rate of 60%. That was higher than the 52% rate for 2019 recalls but lower than the 63% rate for 2018 recalls.

Additional Reading:



Oklahoma school board elections see lowest unopposed rate in eight-year cycle

In 2021, 48.6% of Oklahoma school board races covered by Ballotpedia will not be on the ballot due to lack of opposition, which is the lowest unopposed rate since Ballotpedia began tracking this figure in 2014. Thirty-five seats are up for election across 26 school districts included in Ballotpedia’s comprehensive coverage in 2021. Candidates ran unopposed in 17 of those races.

Across eight years of tracking, the highest unopposed rate for Oklahoma school board elections occurred in 2015, when 85.7% of races had an unopposed candidate. Below is a list of unopposed rates from 2014 to 2021.

  • 2021: 48.6%
  • 2020: 62.1%
  • 2019: 53.3%
  • 2018: 76.7%
  • 2017: 52.9%
  • 2016: 80.0%
  • 2015: 85.7%
  • 2014: 62.5%

The general election for races that do have opposition is scheduled for April 6. For races that had more than two candidates file, the primary election was held on Feb. 9. Candidates were able to win the election outright if they earned more than 50% of the vote in the primary.

The following districts will hold a general election on April 6:

  • Banner School District
  • Crooked Oak Public Schools
  • Deer Creek Public Schools
  • Edmond Public Schools
  • Midwest City-Del City Schools
  • Mustang Public Schools
  • Oklahoma City Public Schools
  • Owasso Public Schools
  • Piedmont Public Schools
  • Putnam City Schools
  • Tulsa Public Schools
  • Union Public Schools
  • Western Heights Public Schools
  • Yukon Public Schools

These fourteen school districts served a total of 190,878 students during the 2016-17 school year.

Additional reading:



Special election results for Louisiana state education board, appeals court

Louisiana held special state-level primary elections on March 20. A general election is scheduled for April 24. Louisiana elections use the majority-vote system. All candidates compete in the same primary, and a candidate can win the election outright by receiving more than 50% of the vote. If no candidate wins outright, the top two vote recipients from the primary advance to the general election, regardless of their partisan affiliation.

On the ballot at the state level were special elections for Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) District 4, Louisiana Circuit Courts of Appeal District 1, and Louisiana House of Representatives District 82. Ballotpedia also covered special elections in Louisiana’s 2nd and 5th Congressional Districts. Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District was the only race decided outright in the primary; the rest advanced to the April general election.

The BESE special election was called after Tony Davis (R) left office in January. He served from 2016 to 2021. Five candidates were on the ballot, including one Democrat, two Republicans, and two independents. Cassie Williams (D) and Michael Melerine (R) advanced to the general election. Williams received 29.3% of the vote, and Melerine received 28.2% of the vote.

Louisiana Circuit Courts of Appeal District 1 became vacant in October when Judge Felicia Toney Williams (D) retired. Williams served on the court from 1993 to 2020. Three candidates competed to replace her, all Democrats. Marcus Hunter (D) received 43.7% of the vote. He faces J. Garland Smith (D), who received 31.9% of the vote, in the general election.

The Louisiana House of Representatives District 82 seat became vacant in January when Charles Henry (R) resigned. Henry served from 2020 to 2021. Three candidates competed to replace him—one Democrat and two Republicans. Edwin Connick (R) faces Laurie Schlegel (R) in the general. Connick received 39.7% of the vote and Schlegel received 35.7% of the vote.

Louisiana has a divided government, and no political party holds a state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. The governor is a member of the Democratic Party and both chambers in the Louisiana State Legislature have Republican majorities.

Additional reading:



Filing deadline passes to run for school board in Oregon

On March 18, 2021, the filing deadline passed to run for school board in eight school districts in Oregon. Candidates filed to run in the following districts:

  • Beaverton School District
  • Centennial School District 28J
  • David Douglas School District
  • Parkrose School District 3
  • Portland Public Schools
  • Reynolds School District 7
  • Salem-Keizer Public Schools
  • Scappoose School District 1J

The general election is scheduled for May 18, 2021. There is no primary. School board elections in these districts are nonpartisan.

These eight districts served a total of 165,126 students during the 2016-2017 school year.

Additional reading:



All 5 Idaho school board members retain seats in March 9 recalls

Recall elections in three Idaho school districts—Pocatello-Chubbuck, Idaho Falls, and Nampa—were held on March 9, 2021. A majority of voters in all three school districts voted against the recalls, defeating the efforts and allowing the board members to retain their seats.

Three school board members—Zone 1 representative Jackie Cranor, Zone 2 representative Janie Gebhardt, and Zone 5 representative Dave Mattson—were on the ballot in Pocatello-Chubbuck School District No. 25. The recall effort began in September 2020 after the board unanimously voted to continue using a hybrid teaching model for middle school and high school students for the remainder of the first trimester of the 2020-2021 school year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recall supporters said the board was not fully representing the electorate on the issue of hybrid learning and other issues. The school district released a statement saying that the board weighs a number of factors when making decisions and that majority opinion does not always rule.

In Idaho Falls School District 91, Zone 4 representative Elizabeth Cogliati was on the ballot. The recall effort began after the board of trustees voted 3-2 on September 30, 2020, to move high schools in the district from in-person instruction five days a week to a mix of in-person and online instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cogliati voted in favor of the change in instruction along with two other board members who were also targeted for recall. The other recall efforts did not make the March 9 ballot. Superintendent George Boland said the goal for the change in instruction was to reduce the number of coronavirus cases and related quarantines and absences at the high schools. Recall supporters said the district’s online classes were low quality and putting students at a disadvantage.

In the Nampa School District, Zone 2 representative Mike Kipp was on the ballot. The recall effort started after Kipp cast the sole dissenting vote against allowing sports to resume during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recall supporters said that they were not being represented on the board and that their voices had not been heard at board meetings on multiple occasions. In response to the recall effort, Kipp said, “I have done my best to listen well to all input from teachers, students, patrons, our superintendent, other district leaders and all relevant experts. I then seek to utilize that information in determining my vote.”

In order for the recall elections to be successful, two things would have had to happen: 1) a majority of voters would have had to vote in favor of the recall; and 2) the total number of votes cast in favor of recall would have had to be equal or greater than the number of votes that first put the board member in office.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 224 recall efforts against 269 elected officials. Of the 49 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 29 were recalled for a rate of 59%. That was higher than the 52% rate for 2019 recalls but lower than the 63% rate for 2018 recalls.

Additional Reading:



Recall elections to be held in 3 Idaho school districts

Recall elections in three Idaho school districts—Pocatello-Chubbuck, Idaho Falls, and Nampa—are scheduled for March 9, 2021. Five board members are facing recall across the three districts.

  1. Three school board members—Zone 1 representative Jackie Cranor, Zone 2 representative Janie Gebhardt, and Zone 5 representative Dave Mattson—will be on the ballot in the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District. The recall effort began in September 2020 after the board unanimously voted to continue using a hybrid teaching model for middle school and high school students for the remainder of the first trimester of the 2020-2021 school year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recall supporters said the board was not fully representing the electorate on the issue of hybrid learning and other topics. The school district released a statement saying that the board weighs a number of factors when making decisions and that majority opinion does not always rule.
  2. In the Idaho Falls School District, Zone 4 representative Elizabeth Cogliati is on the ballot. The recall effort began after the board of trustees voted 3-2 on September 30, 2020, to move high schools in the district from in-person instruction five days a week to a mix of in-person and online instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cogliati voted in favor of the change in instruction along with two other board members who were also targeted for recall. Those other recall efforts did not make the March 9 ballot. Superintendent George Boland said the goal for the change in instruction was to reduce the number of coronavirus cases and related quarantines and absences at the high schools. Recall supporters said the district’s online classes were low quality and putting students at a disadvantage.
  3. In the Nampa School District, Zone 2 representative Mike Kipp is on the ballot. The recall effort started after Kipp cast the sole dissenting vote against allowing sports to resume during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recall supporters said that they were not being represented on the board and that their voices had not been heard at board meetings on multiple occasions. In response to the recall effort, Kipp said, “I have done my best to listen well to all input from teachers, students, patrons, our superintendent, other district leaders and all relevant experts. I then seek to utilize that information in determining my vote.”

In order for the recall elections to be successful, two things must happen: 1) a majority of voters must vote in favor of the recall; and 2) the total number of votes cast in favor of recall must be equal or greater than the number of votes that first put the board member in office.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 224 recall efforts against 269 elected officials. Of the 49 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 29 were recalled for a rate of 59%. That was higher than the 52% rate for 2019 recalls but lower than the 63% rate for 2018 recalls.

Additional Reading:



Judge rules Idaho school board recall qualifies for ballot

A district court judge ruled on February 22, 2021, that a recall effort against Idaho Falls School District 91 board of trustees member Lara Hill had successfully qualified for the ballot. A recall election against board member Elizabeth Cogliati is already scheduled for March 9.

The recall effort against Cogliati and Hill began after the board of trustees voted 3-2 on September 30, 2020, to move high schools in the district from in-person instruction five days a week to a mixture of in-person instruction two days a week and online instruction the other three days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cogliati and Hill voted in favor of the change in instruction along with trustee Hillary Radcliffe, while trustees Paul Haacke and Larry Haws voted against it.

Superintendent George Boland said the goal for the change in instruction was to reduce the number of coronavirus cases and related quarantines and absences at the high schools. The school district had reported 90 coronavirus cases among students and staff between the beginning of the school year and October 9, 2020. Recall supporters said the district’s online classes were low quality and putting students at a disadvantage.

The recall effort initially sought to recall all three board members who voted in favor of changing to hybrid instruction. The effort against Radcliffe did not collect enough signatures and did not submit the petition by the deadline.

Signatures for the recall of Hill and Cogliati were both submitted on December 28, 2020. The Bonneville County Clerk’s Office verified enough signatures to put the recall against Cogliati on the ballot but found that the petition against Hill did not have enough valid signatures. Recall supporters filed a lawsuit against the county clerk, alleging that nine signatures that had been rejected should have been verified. The court ruled in favor of the recall supporters.

Hill’s recall election had not been scheduled as of February 24. After March 9, the next county election dates scheduled are May 18 and August 31.

Recall efforts against school board members started in three other school districts in Idaho in 2020. All of the efforts named their school board’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as reasons for recall. The effort in the West Ada school district did not go to a vote but saw two members resign from their positions. The recall effort against Aaron Proctor in the Whitepine School District went to the ballot on November 3 and was approved with 57% of the vote, resulting in Proctor’s removal from office. The recall effort against three board members in the Pocatello-Chubbuck school district was approved for the ballot, and the elections were scheduled for March 9.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 226 recall efforts against 272 elected officials. Of the 49 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 29 were recalled for a rate of 59%. That was higher than the 52% rate for 2019 recalls but lower than the 63% rate for 2018 recalls.

Additional reading: