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What about a Recall?

June 19, 2010

NOTE and DISCLAIMER: The citizens who have created this website (known as DIRECTION 38!) were made aware that as of Monday, June 7, 2010, a Recall  effort of Board of Education members was in the works by some District residents. These residents are also responsible for an informal petition to support the Superintendent in response to rumors that the Board was voting to either non-renew or terminate his contract.  They submitted a form for a petition to recall with the El Paso County Clerk & Recorder on Tuesday, June 15th, 2010. Their petition form was rejected because it did not meet the requirements set by state statute. The members of the Board they proposed to have petitions for are: John Mann, Robb Pike, Jeffery Ferguson, and Mark Pfoff. Board member Gail Wilson was not included.

It was published in local news articles dated June 17, 2010 that Michelle Zeutzius (parent and PTO member of Prairie Winds Elementary) plans to submit a revised form to the County Clerk next week to continue forward with the process. Some reports say they are considering to recall 3 OR 4 of the members listed above.

DIRECTION 38! is not involved in this recall of Board members effort. At this time, the only action encouraged by this site is for the public to be informed and involved for themselves.

This post was originally prepared to answer many questions voiced by the public about the possibility of a recall of the Board of Education. As indicated in a comment on the Timeline Page, information has been researched and gathered by this site to answer some of those questions.

Currently, the Lewis-Palmer Board of Education is made up of 5 people who represent 5 geographic areas of the District (see Map of the Board of Education Districts). The current Board Membership (meet the Board) and their terms are:

  • John Mann, President (area District 2) term 1 Nov 2007-2011
  • Robb Pike, Vice President (area District 5) term 1 Nov 2009-2011 (previously appointed in 2008)
  • Jeffery Ferguson, Secretary (area District 1) term 1 Nov 2009-2013
  • Mark Pfoff, Treasurer (area District 4) term 1 Nov 2009-2011 (previously appointed in 2007)
  • Gail Wilson, Director (area District 3) term 1 Nov 2005-2009; term 2 Nov 2009-2013

All Board members are term limited to 2 consecutive terms.

If many in the public are not satisfied with or confident in the Board’s decision making process, communication with the community, and therefore the quality of their representation of their constituency — why not just recall them?

This question poses two other important considerations:

  1. What does that process entail?
  2. Who will replace them if the recall process is successful?

Here is the information on THE PROCESS (gathered from a few different sources, including: The Colorado State Statutes; the Election Office, El Paso County Clerk & Recorder; news archives on most recent recall efforts in D-49 and D-11.):

  • A form for petition is obtained from and filed with the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s office. (see Colorado Revised Statutes 1-12-108)
  • At least three people must give their names and addresses on the form as the official representatives of the committee to recall. A separate petition for each member they wish to be recalled must be filed with the reason as to the recall.
  • The petition is then submitted to the El Paso County Clerk  for review as to language and form. This Designated Election Official then has until the close of the second business day following the submission of the proposed petition to approve or disapprove it.
  • Once approved, the committee then has 60 days to circulate the petitions to collect the required number of signatures. There are statutes regarding by whom, how and where the petitions can be circulated.
  • The petitions can be signed by registered voters of the District. All voters in D38 are eligible to vote for all Director Districts of the School Board, not just for the one in which you reside. Individuals could sign one or all of the petitions.
  • The number of eligible signatures is determined by Colorado Revised Statute 1-12-105:

Signatures required for school district officers

A petition to recall a school district officer shall be signed by eligible electors of the school district equal in number to at least forty percent of those electors who voted in such district in the last preceding election at which the director to be recalled was elected as indicated by the pollbook or abstract for such election. If no such election was held, such petition shall be signed by eligible electors of the school district equal in number to at least ten percent of those electors residing within the school district on the date that the form of the petition is approved under section 1-12-108 (4). In no case shall the number required for recall be less than ten percent of eligible electors qualified to vote in the most recent biennial school election; except that no more than fifteen thousand signatures shall be required.

  • The estimated numbers reported by the County Clerk & Recorder’s Election office to recall the D-38 Board are: 5354 each for Ferguson, Pfoff, Pike, and Wilson; 3113 for Mann.
  • All petitions must be filed together and any submitted after the 60 day time period are invalid. The County Clerk then has 10 days to review all signatures for eligibility. For example, in the successful D-11 recall of 2006, over 13% of the collected signatures were disqualified. If the required number of signatures is not met, the recall process ends.
  • If the petition is determined to have the sufficient number of valid signatures, there is then a 15 day protest period given for an appeal process. At this point, a protest (and counter-protests) can be filed, only to signature gathering and verification process. A hearing would then be held by the County Clerk. Protests were filed in both the D-11 and D-49 recall efforts. In the failed D-49 attempt, the Board members at the subject of the recall went through the petitions and protested signatures. They also went door-to-door and persuaded several hundred people to write letters to the county, asking to have their signatures removed from the petition. If enough signatures are invalidated or removed, the recall process ends.
  • If after the protest period (which must be concluded within 30 days after the initial certification of signatures), the petitioners are successful, a recall question will be scheduled to go to a ballot. If the date of certification is within 3 months of a general election, the recall election will be included in that election, otherwise a special election (most likely by mail-in ballot) would be held. The question as to the recall would be, “Shall we retain or recall for the Board of Education (name of Board Member)?”
  • The costs for the recall election are the responsibility of the School District. Two exceptions are: Any costs incurred by the Committee formed for the recall. Costs associated with circulating the petition would be their own and should be kept and reported to the County, if necessary; Some cost to the County.  The D-11 2006 recall was originally estimated by the district’s CFO to cost the district approximately $100,000. The amount increased as reported by Shari Chaney Griffin of The Gazette on September 21, 2006:

    The cost of a Dec. 12 mail ballot election is estimated to be $187,093, D-11’s Chief Financial Officer Glenn Gustafson said. The estimated cost of a polling place election Dec. 19 is $313,086.Recall organizer Norvell Simpson said he’s happy D-11 voters have a chance to decide whether Shakes and Christen should remain on the board, but he’s concerned about the cost to the district.

    Recall organizers, including Simpson, would like Shakes and Christen to resign and save the district the cost of the election.

    Shakes said Wednesday she’s not surprised the recall is moving forward but is surprised at how much it will cost the district.

    “The recall, I think, is going to hurt the district financially,” she said.

    On November 21, 2006, the County Clerk reported a cost to date of $240,000 for the District portion and another $32,000 county tax-payer monies to handle recall issues. The report by the Gazette on December 8, 2006 estimated $268,600 to be paid by the D-11 district for the election. Additionally, the district had over $40,000 in legal fees regarding the recall. District 38 is smaller than District 11, therefore the costs should be less.

At this point, the second item for consideration becomes most relevant; WHO WILL REPLACE THEM?

  • Once a recall is certified, a window of time is opened for people interested in running for the potential School Board seats.
  • They must reside within the Director Area District of the seat they wish to run for and submit at least 50 signatures of registered voters from the District to get on the ballot.
  • A “replacement” election is run with the recall question.
  • Anyone who votes in the recall (whether they vote “FOR” or “AGAINST” the member in question, is then eligible to vote for a successor to that seat, if any are named.
  • If no one steps up to run, and the recall is successful, the seat would be open for application and appointment by the remaining Board members. In the case of Area Districts 2, 4, and 5, whether someone is appointed or elected as part of a recall election, these seats would still be open for election in November 2011.


One alternative is to closely monitor and try to influence with relevant information, all Board activities and decisions. If there is a desire to replace Board members, a focus could be given to seeking out qualified and willing candidates to run for election in November 2011 and 2013.

This would avoid the potential added costs to our already financially stressed District.

Categories: Awareness Alerts
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