Howell Board of Education recall, Michigan, 2010
The recall campaign began after a June 26, 2009 vote by board members Pratt, Drick and Literski in favor of firing the district's superintendent. The petition drive began July 14. The recall petition did not target the fourth member who voted in favor of firing the superintendent, board treasurer Ann Routt. Recall supporters said that Routt was not targeted because they wanted to avoid a majority of the board seats being empty if the recall succeeded.
School board trustee Wendy Day said that she supports the recall petition against all three targeted members because she said she does not believe the board members have acted in the best interest of the children.
The filed petition, written by district parent Deborah McCormick, states that the three board members:
- "did not act in the best interest of the community" when they voted in favor of terminating the district superintendent without the input of public comments on the issue
- "violated the public trust" when they approved an agenda that did not denote their intention to fire the superintendent
Supporters had until mid-October to collect enough signatures to place the measure on the February 23, 2010 ballot. They would have had to collect a minimum of 4,840 valid signatures. Earlier, in July 2009, supporters said that they would try to aim for the November 2009 ballot but fell short of the signature requirements. Petition supporters needed to collect a minimum of 5,000 signatures by July 31, 2009 to place the recall on the November 2009 ballot.
According to reports in October 2009, a total of 3,000 signatures had been collected for the February 2010 ballot, with a January 9 to collect the remaining signatures, however, signatures more than 90 days old will be invalid.
In April 2010, a newly hired superintendent for the district changed his mind and turned down the post after negotiating and accepting a three-year contract with an annual salary of $155,000 that was to begin on May 1, 2010.
Howell's previous superintendent, Ted Gardella, served the district for one year. He was removed in June 2009 through a vote of the school board, following a special school board meeting during which teacher's union officials were given 45 minutes to express their grievances against him. The board members who voted to remove Gardella were the board members targeted in the recall.
Gardella's predecessor, Chuck Breiner, left the job in March 2008 after criticism for how the district dealt with a sexual assault that took place on a district school bus in 2007.
- The Michigan Messenger, "Howell school board faces recall election, resignations," July 14, 2009
- Trustee OKs Howell recall drive at firm, says that doesn't mean he supports effort," July 26, 2009
- Lansing State Journal, "Howell school board recall organizers face Friday deadline," July 29, 2009
- The Ann Arbor News, "Petition language OK'd for recall of 3," July 17, 2009
- WHMI, "Recall Inching Along Against Howell School Board Members," September 18, 2009
- Livingston Daily, "Clock ticks on Howell school board recall campaign," October 6, 2009
- Detroit News, "Howell's newest superintendent resigns," April 7, 2010