By Chris Collins
County Clerk Tami Green has set the date for an election asking Baker School District patrons whether they want to recall two of their board members.
The election will be Tuesday, Dec. 11. Ballots must be returned to the County Clerk's Office by 8 p.m. on that date.
They will be mailed out to voters on Nov. 23, Green said.
Proponents of the recall election, led by chief petitioner Kerry McQuisten, are asking voters to recall Lynne Burroughs, board chair, and director Mark Henderson.
The recall committee contends that the two overstepped their authority when they voted to censure fellow board member Kyle Knight.
As a result of the censure, Knight has been restricted from access to certain confidential district information and from contacting district staff members.
Director Andrew Bryan also voted in favor of the censure, but was not included in the recall.
Knight and board member Jim Longwell voted against the censure.
Knight has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court claiming that the censure is a violation of his civil rights.
Voters will consider the recall of each director separately in two issues on the ballot.
Burroughs and Henderson had the choice of resigning or explaining to voters why they should be retained on the board.
Burroughs submitted her letter of justification on Nov. 6, the same day the recall committee qualified the matters for the ballot. Green announced on that date that the committee had submitted 937 valid signatures seeking the recall of Burroughs and 936 valid signatures to recall Henderson. At least 913 valid signatures were needed to call for an election.
Henderson submitted his letter of justification to the Clerk's Office the next day, on Nov. 7.
HENDERSON'S LETTER OF JUSTIFICATION
Greetings - My name is Mark Henderson and I'm one of your Baker 5J School Board Members. Kyle Knight recently stated that this recall attempt is about a change in direction. On this point, I agree with Kyle. Between the previous and our current School Boards, Baker 5J has managed to reverse years of deficit spending, separated our District from the State ESD system (with the cost savings and local spending that resulted), and produced 2 of Oregon's 27 top rated "Model" title schools. If this is not the direction you want your school district to proceed, then Kyle is right - I'm not your Board Member.
With the Governor's new education department, the "Oregon Education Investment Board," and the new national Common Core State Standards, Baker 5J is facing an unprecedented onslaught of changes. If the Baker 5J continues to focus upon itself, then these changes will be forced on us.
And while our District has lots to celebrate, my work is far from over. We need to get this recall behind us, so we can concentrate on the next Oregon legislative session in January.
To that end, I'd appreciate your 'NO' vote on this recall ballot."
BURROUGHS' LETTER OF JUSTIFICATION
I am Lynne Burroughs Chairman of the 5J School District Board of Directors. This recall is not about education, students, staff or management of the 5J district. It is about the action of Censure which the school board has taken to protect the district from liability caused by the acts of one board member. We censured Mr. Knight after much research and discussion with various regulatory agencies and with advice of counsel. No outside agency properly regulates the board; the board is required to police itself. The just cause for censure is clear and documented. Need for censure stems from fiscal and legal liability to the district by the unethical and illegal deeds of director Kyle Knight. The majority of the board acted to protect the district, its staff and students. I believe that I was right to censure Kyle Knight, although I found no enjoyment in the process. I am not guilty of overstepping my authority, nor of making up laws and policies to persecute another board member. I simply did my job. Your vote 'no' on my recall will allow me to finish my term in office. Your vote 'yes' will confuse the leadership process in Baker 5J.