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Northwest recall petition takes wrong approach

Northwest recall petition takes wrong approach

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Recall elections can serve an important purpose. They can remove someone from office who has broken the law or who has done something unethical.

However, recalls are not meant to remove someone just because of a disagreement over policy. To do that, there are elections. If you disagree with decisions someone has made while in office, don’t vote for them.

That is why the recall effort against two Northwest school board members is without merit. These two board members — Dan Leiser and Robin Schutt — have done nothing inappropriate. There has been no misconduct, no mismanagement.

In fact, Leiser and Schutt were both just elected last year and have only been serving in office for less than a year.

What is really behind the recall is that a group of individuals who support the Chapman school are disappointed that the board hasn’t done more to ensure the future of the school.

For example, the group has proposed making the Chapman school a middle school for the district. While listening to the idea, the board has made no commitment to it.

Actually, the group had originally wanted to include three other board members in the recall. However, those three seats are up for election next year and someone can’t be recalled who will be on the primary ballot in May if they run for reelection.

So the group really wanted to recall the entire board except for one member — Zach Mader.

That it wanted to recall so many board members clearly seems to be an issue of policy rather than misconduct or mismanagement.

The Northwest district does face some tough issues. One is finding ways to lower the property tax rate to help farmers who have been hit with high property taxes during the past decade. That, however, is a statewide problem.

Another issue is how to improve the offerings for middle school students in the district. These sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students now attend classes at the four kindergarten to eighth grade schools — Cedar Hollow, Chapman, 1-R and St. Libory.

Voters rejected a bond issue to build a new middle school in 2018. Since then the board has discussed options and the district has adopted trimester courses that allow middle school students to have classes in art, careers and technology.

Another consideration is whether to put a lower number limit on option students in the district. Option students make up a large percentage of the students in the district.

All of this means that the Northwest school board faces many tough decisions. Board members shouldn’t be threatened with recalls because of disagreements.

Northwest school board members also represent the entire district, not just one community, and must consider what is good for the entire district when making decisions.

If district residents disagree with the direction of the board, there are three seats — half of the board — that they can run for in 2020.

That is the proper way to facilitate change. Recall elections are the wrong way to do it.

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