Two West Ada School District trustees seeking to stop a May 17 recall vote were dealt a setback when Fourth District Judge Deborah Bail denied their request to stop the election.
Bail ruled that recall supporters collected the correct number of petition signatures to force a recall election as laid out by county clerks in Ada and Canyon counties.
Russell Joki and Carol Sayles, two of three trustees facing recall, sought to stop the vote, claiming supporters needed to gather thousands more signatures to force the receall election.
Recall backers collected signatures based on a number equal to 50 percent of the people who voted in each of the three trustee’s last elections. The unsuccessful challenge said the minimum number of signatures should be based on the turnout of district voters in the November supplemental levy vote.
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Idaho law lays out the percentage of signatures required for a recall in several state and local offices based on the number of people who voted in the last election for those offices, Bail said in her ruling.
Joki said Monday morning he had not seen Bails’s ruling, and didn’t know exactly what steps would come next.
“My plan is to continue to do what I can do to support Dr. Ranells,” he said of Mary Ann Ranells, the new superintendent hired by trustees late last year. “I don’t have any comment on the ruling.”
Sayles could not be immediately reached for comment.
Board Chairwoman Tina Dean also faces recall on May 17.
Recall supporters say they weren’t surprised by the decision. “We really believe the County Clerk’s Office gave us the correct information based on their interpretation of state statute,” said Christine Donnell, a co-chair of Concerned Citizens of West Ada School District for Trustee Recall.
Supporters will lay out their campaign strategies to get their message out and raise funds, Donnell said. Concerned Citizens may announce how much money it raises, she said, but will not reveal who its backers are because the committee promised it would not.
Idaho law does not require the recall groups to identify its donors, but the committee has been criticized for not naming the contributors supporting the recall campaign.