GARDEN VALLEY - The Garden Valley School District is preparing for its second recall election in less than two months. On February 23rd, the chair of the School Board was recalled, and a day later a new petition surfaced to out another member of the board, Terry Elmore. As the Garden Valley School District is preparing for this second recall election, the school district sent a letter to the Boise County Prosecutor pointing out irregularities in the first election.
On December 30, 2009, a group calling themselves Friends of the Garden Valley School District submitted a petition for the recall of Elizabeth Dunn. She had chaired the school board since July 2009.
"It was obviously some cobbled together thing that Paula couldn't not accept on behalf of the district," said Dr. Mike Tomlin.
According to the district's Superintendent Dr. Mike Tomlin and the district's Business Manager, Paula Fox, the petition had problems. Word began to circulate around town that the petition was not gathered according to the law, possibly illegally. Then, a week into the absentee voting, the group that pushed the recall election showed up wishing to withdraw the petition, but that wasn’t possible.
"You can't un-ring the bell once it already starts," said Fox.
On February 23rd, the community voted 43 to 41 and Elizabeth Dunn was recalled. Tomlin says while the district accepted the vote of the people he feels the recall was unnecessary.
"She got thrown out of a volunteer position that she had served faithfully for six years, by people that she hasn't even met, many of them who have never ever been to a school board meeting. I have a hard time understanding exactly how that improves the schooling in the district," said Tomlin.
Two people from the Friends of the District sat down with Channel 7 today and would only gave me this statement: "We continue to support a positive and safe climate of learning for teachers, staff and students."
"It's difficult to give much legitimacy to a group who will not tell you what it is they wish. They only wish to get rid of people. That's a difficult thing," said Tomlin.
While the group hasn't given anyone its official reason for the recalls or what changes need to be made, Dunn says she's heard from people that she is not the group's ultimate goal.
"I'm caught in the middle. I was doing my job as a board trustee, and I thought I was actually doing my job well, and this came out of left field, but apparently they had been planning this for quite a while and all they needed was some catalyst to set it off," said Dunn.
Dunn believes the catalyst for these recalls was a split board vote on whether to allow a teacher to continue to bring her infant with her to school. The board voted 3 to 2 not to allow her to bring the baby back. Dunn claims, she was told by a member of the Friends of the District that the ultimate goal was to get rid of the Tomlin and Fox.
"They are not being up front. I believe there is a hidden agenda here that most people don't realize," said Dunn.
On Thursday the school board will consider applicants to fill Dunn's spot on the board. On Tuesday the district set the date for the recall election for Terry Elmore. That recall election is set for April 15th.
NewsChannel 7 talked with the Boise County Prosecutor’s office Monday; they tell us they are investigating the districts claim on the first recall election, beyond that, they have no comment.