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Saginaw Board of Education recall, Michigan, 2009
The group organizing the petition failed to meet the required deadline of 5 p.m., on May 1, 2009. According to Norman Braddock, one of the board members who was subject to the recall: “Now we should be able to work out any differences we may have. I'm willing to talk. It's not about personal issues. It's about the kids.”
A controversy arose in May 2009 when Vera McCulloh-Pratt, a parent in favor of the recall, allegedly enticed senior citizens at a community room for seniors to sign the petition, offering fried chicken and mashed potatoes. The incident violates the state Campaign Finance Act, which could carry up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
The recall effort began after Spess, Spates-Allen, Braddock and Yanca all voted to shut down Webber K-8 School and Coulter and Jerome elementary schools. The two other members who voted to shut down the schools, Treasurer James Woolfolk and Trustee Jean Burk, are up for re-election in November, and were not targeted by the recall effort. The last member, Secretary Mattie Thompson, has supported the parents' efforts.
Superintendent Thomas Barris recommended the school closings, as the projected deficit budget of $2.4 million dictates a dire situation.
Alexis Thomas is leading the recall effort, along with Kimberly Lawrence and other concerned parents and citizens. The group needs to collect 4,471 signatures from registered voters in Saginaw, Zilwaukee and part of Kochville Township, where the school district extends, by May 1, 2009.
Thomas is not worried about getting enough signatures. "People are pretty excited to be going out to (get) signatures for us," Thomas said. "They're ready to see change."
School officials say that financial issues forced the closing of the schools, and that there was little else to be done. Thomas and the recall supporters disagree. "I don't think it's acceptable to not be aware of the money issues they were having," Thomas said. "The school closings were the straw that broke the camel's back; there should have been some public say."
- MLive.com: "Parents file recall petitions against Saginaw Board of Education members who vote for school closures," Feb 12, 2009
- Mlive.com, "Saginaw Board of Education recall organizers fail to meet Friday petition deadline," May 1, 2009
- Mlive.com, "Saginaw senior says school board recall supporter bribed seniors with chicken," May 29, 2009
- MLive.com: "Saginaw Board of Education recall leader standing ground," April 2, 2009