ClaireMcCaskill
Issue Background

School Board Member Recall

Making a Difficult Job More Difficult

Senate Bill 55 (O'Laughlin) and House Bill 229 (Basye) would allow for a recall election of a school board member if a petition is filed with signatures from voters equal to at least 25% of those voting in the most recent school board election. Grounds for recall include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Conduct that relates to and adversely affects the rights and interest of the public;
  • Commission of an act or acts of malfeasance;
  • Moral turpitude;
  • Violation of the member’s oath of office;
  • Abuse of power or authority;
  • Misuse or misappropriation of public property or public moneys;
  • Conviction of a felony;
  • Willful violation of any code of ethics applicable to such member as provided in the revised statutes of Missouri;
  • Violation of any school board policy of the school district in which the member serves;
  • Breach of public trust;
  • Lack of responsiveness to concerns raised by the public or staff;
  • Promotion and implementation of measures that are counterproductive to the best interests of the students and staff of the school district; or
  • Violation of any applicable provision of the Sunshine Law.

A board member would lose his or her seat if a majority of the votes cast are in favor of removal.

Board members must focus on students, not what is popular. School board members must make difficult and sometimes emotional decisions on issues such as employment/termination, laying off staff, disciplining a student, closing school buildings, or even moving an attendance boundary. MSBA is opposed to any law that would make it even more difficult for school board members to focus on students when making these decisions - out of fear of losing a recall election.

Due to confidentiality laws, Board members cannot always adequately defend their decisions to the public. Many of the most difficult decisions school board members make involve students and employees, both of whom are protected by numerous confidentiality laws school board members must follow. MSBA is concerned that a Board member could not adequately defend him or herself in a recall election because of these laws.

This law will discourage good citizens from running for school board. School board members are unpaid volunteers, not career politicians. They are committed and devote countless hours to support their community. MSBA is concerned that a recall law would discourage good people from running for school board out of fear of accidentally violating the long, and rather broad, list of offenses above.

Elections are expensive. School districts would much rather spend their limited resources on the students instead of paying for unnecessary elections.

Legislators cannot be recalled! Why would the legislature impose recall elections on volunteer school board members when legislators themselves are not subject to the same laws?

Silencing your voice!  Well-funded for-profit education management services and virtual school providers are seeking to politicize school board elections so that people who support charter schools and vouchers are elected. MSBA is concerned that this is yet another method that could be used to silence strong advocates for public education.

School board members are unpaid volunteers, not career politicians. They are committed and devote countless hours to support their community. MSBA is concerned that a recall law would discourage good people from running for school board out of fear of accidentally violating the long, and rather broad, list of offenses.

TALKING POINTS

School Board Member Recall

Is Senate Bill 55 Really That Bad for Public Education? Yes.