Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

Voters will consider whether to recall Lynne Burroughs, 5J Board chair, and director Mark Henderson

By Chris Collins

Proponents of an effort to recall two Baker School Board members have gathered enough valid signatures to send the issue to voters.

"I feel like I met my goal," Kerry McQuisten, chief petitioner, said Tuesday, a day ahead of the Nov. 7 deadline to submit petitions to the Clerk's Office.

"Now it will be up to the voters," she added. "I always thought this issue was appropriate for the voters to decide. They'll have their chance now."

County Clerk Tami Green said Tuesday morning that her staff had verified 937 valid signatures seeking the recall of Lynne Burroughs, board chair, and 936 valid signatures to recall director Mark Henderson. At least 913 valid signatures were needed to place the matter on the ballot.

McQuisten and her group contend that the two directors overstepped their authority when they voted to censure their fellow board member Kyle Knight this spring.

Knight filed a lawsuit against the district in September claiming his civil rights were violated when the board voted to censure him.

Burroughs and Henderson have five days to resign or file a statement of justification for their actions, Green said. Both directors have declined to resigned.

Burroughs had no comment on the recall except to say that her statement is on file with the Clerk's Office.

Here is an excerpt from that statement filed Tuesday:

"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 ...

"... The just cause for censure is clear and documented," Burroughs wrote. "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."

The complete text of Burroughs' statement is on file at the Clerk's Office and will be included as part of the ballot measure.

Henderson had not filed his statement as of this morning, Green said. He will have until Monday to do so.

In a phone interview Tuesday, Henderson said he believes the election might help resolve some of the board's internal strife.

"At this point, there's so much divisiveness - I still struggle with the cost - but I think we need to go through it so we can move on," he said.

Based on the most recent recall election in which two City Council members were subjects of a failed recall, Green estimates the election will cost more than $10,000, which will be paid by the school district.

Green will have 35 days to schedule an election. There will be separate ballot measures seeking recall of each director.

This is the second effort to gather enough signatures to place the recall of the two directors on the ballot. The first started in April, but fell short of the required number of valid signatures by the July deadline.

The process started over again a short time later with today as the deadline for collecting the required number of valid signatures.