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 Nov. 13. 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 Sept. 9 and deemed sufficient to circulate on Sept. 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.