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Idaho school board recall elections scheduled

Recall elections seeking to remove three of the five members of the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District No. 25 board of trustees in Idaho have been scheduled for March 9, 2021. The recall ballots will ask voters if they are in favor of recalling Zone 1 Representative Jackie Cranor, Zone 2 Representative Janie Gebhardt, and Zone 5 Representative Dave Mattson.

The recall effort began on Sept. 18, 2020, when recall supporters filed paperwork with the Bannock County Elections Office after the board unanimously voted to continue using a hybrid teaching model (two days in-person and three days online) for middle school and high school students for the remainder of the first trimester of the 2020-2021 school year. The district started the hybrid model due to the COVID-19 pandemic and continued using it into the second trimester.

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.

To get the recall effort against Cranor on the ballot, supporters had to collect 164 signatures from registered voters in Zone 1. To get the recall effort against Gebhardt on the ballot, supporters had to collect 351 signatures from Zone 2, and to recall Mattson, they had to collect 206 signatures from Zone 5. The petition signatures were verified by the Bannock County Elections Office on Dec. 10. Cranor, Gebhardt, and Mattson had until Dec. 17 to step down or face the recall election. None of the board members stepped down. 

In order for the recall elections to be successful, the total number of votes cast in favor of recall must be equal to or greater than the number of votes that first put the board members in office. The recall against Cranor needs at least 279 votes, the recall against Gebhardt needs at least 417 votes, and the recall against Mattson needs at least 278 votes.

Cranor, Gebhardt, and Mattson were also included in a 2018 recall effort against all five members who served on the board at the time. That effort started after the board voted to end the district’s 20-year-old open enrollment policy that allowed students to choose which high school they attended. The leader of that recall put the effort on hold before the deadline to submit petitions.

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 a reason 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 Nov. 3 and was approved with 57% of the vote, resulting in Proctor’s removal from office. The effort in the Idaho Falls School District is still ongoing.

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.

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Filing deadline passes for successor candidates in Colorado school board recall

A recall election seeking to remove Lance McDaniel from his position as the District A representative on the Montezuma-Cortez School District Board of Education in Colorado is being held on February 16, 2021. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to replace McDaniel if the recall is successful was January 8. One candidate—Cody Wells—filed.

The recall election will have two questions. One will ask if voters are in favor of recalling McDaniel, with the option to vote yes or no. The other question will list the successor candidates. If a majority of voters cast ballots in favor of recalling McDaniel, the successor candidate who received the most votes will replace him on the board. If a majority of voters cast ballots against recalling McDaniel, he will retain his position on the board.

The recall effort started in July 2020. Recall supporters said McDaniel had shown a “lack of leadership and has proven to be a poor role model for our children” due to several of his social media posts. The petition stated, “We need school board members that understand leadership and the power of mentoring, and know not to voice their personal, political, or social opinions that could influence children.”

McDaniel said he was not concerned about the recall effort. “When it gets down to it, I’m a loudmouth liberal, and they don’t like that,” he said. McDaniel said he stood by his social media posts. “The conservatives don’t like the fact that there are some more progressive people in the town,” he said.

To get the recall on the ballot, supporters of the effort had to submit 1,126 signatures in 60 days. The number of signatures was equal to 40% of the citizens in the school district who voted in the last school board election. Recall supporters submitted the signatures by the deadline, and Montezuma County Clerk and Recorder Kim Percell determined enough signatures were valid. Before a recall election could be scheduled, four challenges were submitted against the petition, saying the petition was “baseless, frivolous and infringes on Mr. McDaniel’s First Amendment rights of freedom of speech.” A hearing on the challenges was held on November 19, and the challenges were denied on November 23. Hearing Officer Mike Green said that the recall petition met the statutory requirements.

McDaniel is one of seven members on the board of education. He was appointed to his position in 2018.

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.

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Idaho county verifies school board recall petition signatures

Petition signatures to recall three of the five members of the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District No. 25 board of trustees in Idaho were verified by the Bannock County Elections Office on December 10, 2020. Zone 1 representative Jackie Cranor, Zone 2 representative Janie Gebhardt, and Zone 5 representative Dave Mattson have until December 17 to step down or else face the recall election.

The recall effort began on September 18, 2020, when recall supporters filed paperwork with the Bannock County Elections Office after the board unanimously voted to continue using a hybrid teaching model (two days in-person and three days online) for middle school and high school students for the remainder of the first trimester of the 2020-2021 school year. The district started the hybrid model due to the COVID-19 pandemic and continued using it into the second trimester.

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.

To get the recall effort against Cranor on the ballot, supporters had to collect 164 signatures from registered voters in Zone 1. To get the recall effort against Gebhardt on the ballot, supporters had to collect 351 signatures from Zone 2, and to recall Mattson, they had to collect 206 signatures from Zone 5. All of the petition signatures had to be submitted by December 1. If the board members face the recall election, at least as many voters who first put them in office must vote to recall them in order for the recall election to be successful. The recall against Cranor would need 279 votes, the recall against Gebhardt would need 417 votes, and the recall against Mattson would need 278 votes.

Cranor, Gebhardt, and Mattson were also included in a 2018 recall effort against all five members who served on the board at the time. That effort started after the board voted to end the district’s 20-year-old open enrollment policy that allowed students to choose which high school they attended. The leader of that recall put the effort on hold before the deadline to submit petitions.

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. Efforts in the Idaho Falls and West Ada school districts are still ongoing, while a recall effort against Aaron Proctor in the Whitepine School District went to the ballot on November 3. The recall election was approved with 57% of the vote, and Proctor was removed from office.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

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Second school board member in Idaho resigns following recall effort

Philip Neuhoff resigned from his position as the Zone 4 representative on the West Ada School District board of trustees in Idaho on December 8, 2020, saying that other areas of his life needed his attention. Neuhoff is the second member of the board to resign since a recall petition was approved for circulation against all five members of the board. Former Zone 3 representative Steve Smylie resigned on October 27, saying, “When adults fight, children lose. I am proud of this district and I always will be, but no one was prepared for a pandemic, and it has turned into division.”

The recall paperwork was approved for circulation by the Ada County Clerk’s Office on October 14. Recall supporters said they were frustrated that the district had not developed a plan for students in sixth through twelfth grades to return to in-person learning full-time. The school district began the 2020-2021 school year with a week of online-only instruction in September in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. After that first week, the district allowed students in all grades to attend school in-person part-time. Elementary school students moved to full-time in-person instruction on a gradual basis.

Recall supporters have 75 days to collect signatures to recall Zone 1 representative Ed Klopfenstein, Zone 2 representative Amy Johnson, and Zone 5 representative Rene Ozuna. Approximately 1,487 signatures are needed to put a recall effort against Klopfenstein on the ballot. A total of 2,578 signatures are needed for a recall election against Johnson, and 1,403 are needed for a recall election against Ozuna. If enough signatures are submitted and verified, a recall election will be scheduled.

To remove the board members from office, the recall election must meet two thresholds:

  1. a majority of voters must cast ballots in favor of the recall
  2. the number of votes cast in favor of the recall must exceed the number of votes the board member received in his or her last election.

A 2016 recall effort in the school district removed two school board members from office, while another two resigned. Klopfenstein, Smylie, Ozuna, and Neuhoff were appointed to those vacant positions. All four were later re-elected to the board after running unopposed. Johnson was elected to the board in November 2019. She received 64.1% of the vote and defeated incumbent Mike Vuittonet.

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. Efforts in the Idaho Falls and Pocatello-Chubbuck school districts are still ongoing, while a recall effort against Aaron Proctor in the Whitepine School District went to the ballot on November 3. The recall election was approved with 57% of the vote, and Proctor was removed from office.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

Additional reading:



Colorado school board recall scheduled for February 2021

A recall election seeking to remove Lance McDaniel from his position as the District A representative on the Montezuma-Cortez School District Board of Education in Colorado is being held on February 16, 2021.

The recall effort started in July 2020. Recall supporters said McDaniel had shown a “lack of leadership and has proven to be a poor role model for our children,” regarding several of his social media posts. The petition stated, “We need school board members that understand leadership and the power of mentoring, and know not to voice their personal, political, or social opinions that could influence children.”

McDaniel said he was not concerned about the recall effort. “When it gets down to it, I’m a loudmouth liberal, and they don’t like that,” he said. McDaniel said he stood by his social media posts. “The conservatives don’t like the fact that there are some more progressive people in the town,” he said.

To get the recall on the ballot, supporters of the effort had to submit 1,126 signatures in 60 days. The number of signatures was equal to 40% of the citizens in the school district who voted in the last school board election. Recall supporters submitted the signatures by the deadline, and Montezuma County Clerk and Recorder Kim Percell determined enough signatures were valid.

Before a recall election could be scheduled, four challenges were submitted against the petition alleging that it was “baseless, frivolous and infringes on Mr. McDaniel’s First Amendment rights of freedom of speech.” A hearing on the challenges was held on November 19, and the challenges were denied on November 23. Hearing Officer Mike Green said that the recall petition met the statutory requirements.

McDaniel is one of seven members on the board of education. He was appointed to his position in 2018.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

Additional reading:



Recall petitions submitted against three school board members in Idaho

Petitions to recall three of the five members of the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District No. 25 board of trustees in Idaho were submitted on November 30, 2020. The county has until December 21, 2020, to verify the signatures.

The effort began on September 18 when recall supporters filed paperwork with the Bannock County Elections Office. Zone 1 representative Jackie Cranor, Zone 2 representative Janie Gebhardt, and Zone 5 representative Dave Mattson were named in the recall petitions after the board unanimously voted to continue using a hybrid teaching model (two days in-person and three days online) for middle school and high school students for the remainder of the first trimester of the 2020-2021 school year. The district continued using the hybrid model into the second trimester. The district started the hybrid model due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recall supporters said the board was not fully representing the electorate on the topic 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.

To get the recall effort against Cranor on the ballot, supporters had to collect 164 signatures from registered voters in Zone 1. To get the recall effort against Gebhardt on the ballot, supporters had to collect 351 signatures from Zone 2, and to recall Mattson, they had to collect 206 signatures from Zone 5. All of the petition signatures had to be submitted by December 1. If the board members face the recall election, at least as many voters who first put them in office must vote to recall them in order for the recall election to be successful. The recall against Cranor would need 279 votes, the recall against Gebhardt would need 417 votes, and the recall against Mattson would need 278 votes.

Cranor, Gebhardt, and Mattson were also included in a 2018 recall effort against all five members who served on the board at the time. That effort started after the board voted to end the district’s 20-year-old open enrollment policy that allowed students to choose which high school they attended. The leader of that recall put the effort on hold before the deadline to submit petitions.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

Additional reading: 



Recall petitions submitted against two Colorado school board members

Recall petitions seeking to remove Kurt Wassil and Stephanie Buker from their positions on the Elbert County School District C-2 school board in Colorado were submitted to the county for verification on November 13, 2020. The recall effort also initially included board member Stacy Morgan, but no petitions were submitted against her by the deadline. To get the recalls on the ballot, 244 petition signatures must be verified by the Elbert County Clerk and Recorder. The county has 15 days to review the signatures.

The recall petitions against the three board members were submitted to the county clerk and recorder on September 9 and deemed sufficient to circulate on September 14. The petitions read: “Our schools have suffered loss of staff, and extracurricular activities/programs. The art program was eliminated for K-12, yet the auto shop program continues for 6 students at a budget of over $35,000. Student enrollment/ratings are the lowest in Kiowa’s history and yet the superintendent is the highest paid in Kiowa’s history. Lack of support for staff and teachers has resulted in low morale, an unhealthy work environment, and a 42 percent turnover in teachers during 2018-2019.”

In reaction to the recall effort, Wassil said the board acknowledges every year that they are deficit budgeting. He said, “We try not to cut programs or classes, but we have to anticipate the budget each year, and there’s a lot of guesswork with the revenue, we get funds from a lot of different sources. A lot of times you don’t know what the revenue will be until school starts and we get an actual number of students who are enrolled.”

Wassil is serving his second term on the board, which expires in 2021. Buker is also serving her second term on the board, which expires in 2023. Morgan is serving her first term on the board, which expires in 2023.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

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Voters to decide Idaho school board recall election Nov. 3

An effort to recall Aaron Proctor from his position as the Zone 3 representative of the Whitepine School District board of trustees in Idaho is on the ballot on November 3, 2020.

The effort began after the board voted 3-1 on August 11, 2020, to require face coverings in classrooms and on buses whenever social distancing is not feasible due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Proctor was one of the three members who voted in favor of the requirement. A survey sent to parents in the Whitepine School District showed approximately 62% of parents were against the district requiring face coverings when social distancing is not feasible, and 67% of parents were against requiring face coverings at all times.

Recall supporters said Proctor had failed to represent the desires expressed by district parents, put his personal feelings ahead of the wishes of his constituents, conducted himself unprofessionally on social media, and compromised the quality of education for district students.

In response to the recall effort, Proctor said, “Trustees have a responsibility to provide safe and healthy learning environment for our students. It’s unfortunate minimizing the chances of a student or staff member catching and possibly dying from COVID-19 is controversial, but it is undoubtedly the right thing to do.”

Proctor has served on the board for 16 years. The recall effort was approved for the November 3 ballot after 59 petition signatures from registered voters in Zone 3 were verified. 

Three other school board recall efforts are currently underway in Idaho. Recall petitions are circulating in the Idaho Falls, Pocatello-Chubbuck, and West Ada school districts. All three of them were started in response to the school districts’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

Additional reading:



County approves circulation of recall petition against two Idaho Falls school board members

A petition to recall two of the five members of the Idaho Falls School District 91 board of trustees in Idaho were approved for circulation on October 16, 2020, by the Bonneville County Clerk’s Office. The petition named board chairman and Zone 3 representative Lara Hill and Zone 5 representative Hillary Radcliffe. Zone 4 representative Elizabeth Cogliati is also included in the same recall effort, but the petition against her had not been approved for circulation as of October 23.

The 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 instruction two days a week and online instruction the other three days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hill, Radcliffe, and Cogliati voted in favor of the change in instruction, while trustees Paul Haacke and Larry Haws voted against.

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.

Hill was first appointed to the board of trustees in September 2018 and later elected in November 2019. Radcliffe was appointed to the board in June 2019, and Cogliati was elected to the board in November 2019.

To get the recall against Hill on the ballot, supporters must collect at least 480 signatures from registered voters. To get the recall against Radcliffe on the ballot, supporters must collect at least 1,400 signatures. If the petition against Cogliati is approved for circulation, supporters will need at least 280 signatures to put the recall on the ballot. The number of signatures needed is equal to 50% of the votes cast at the last election in the zone the trustees represent. 

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

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Two Wisconsin school board members named in recall petition after voting to continue virtual learning

An effort to recall Robert Hesselbein and Minza Karim from their positions on the Middleton-Cross Plains School District Board of Education in Wisconsin began in October 2020. The effort started after the board voted 5-4 on September 28, 2020, to keep students in virtual learning for the rest of the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The other option, which did not pass, would have allowed students in pre-school through second grade to return to in-person instruction starting on November 2, 2020. Hesselbein and Karim were two of the five members who voted in favor of continuing virtual learning. 

The recall effort was started by the group Parents for Change. Angela Rachidi, an organizer of the group, said that the board members’ votes to continue virtual learning did not represent the wants and needs of the community. She also said that virtual learning did not support an equitable education. 

Both Hesselbein and Karim both said they stood by their votes. Hesselbein said that though he understood families’ frustrations, safety had to come first while COVID-19 cases were rising in the county and the state. Karim said she voted to keep schooling virtual “for the sake of safety and health for the students, staff and the entire community.”

The Middleton-Cross Plains Board of Education has nine members. Hesselbein is one of the four Area IV representatives of the board, and Karim is the Area III representative of the board. Both of them have terms ending in 2022. 

To get the recall on the ballot, supporters must collect approximately 5,000 signatures in 60 days. The number of signatures is equal to 25% of the votes cast for governor in the school district in the 2018 election.

Hesselbein and Karim are not the only school board members included in a recall effort in Wisconsin this year. An effort to recall three of the seven members of the Appleton Area School District Board of Education began in September 2020. That effort also centers around the board’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

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