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Recall efforts move forward against District 91 school board members

Education

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IDAHO FALLS — Recall efforts against two Idaho Falls School District 91 school board members are moving forward.

Signature sheets were turned into the Bonneville County Election Office Monday to push the attempted recall of D91 Board Chairwoman Lara Hill (Zone 3) and trustee Elizabeth Cogliati (Zone 4) forward. A third recall effort was started against Hillary Radcliffe (Zone 5), but it was unable to collect enough signatures. Radcliffe was appointed to fill a vacant seat in June 2019 and the action would have required about 1,400 signatures.

“We did what we had to to get their attention and that’s what this is about,” Melissa LaPray, a parent of children in District 91, told EastIdahoNews.com.

RELATED: District 91 parents starting petition to recall school board members who voted for hybrid schedule

LaPray and other District 91 parents not in favor of the district’s hybrid learning model started the recalls. During a school board meeting on Sept. 30, the D91 school board voted 3-2 to move its high schools — Compass Academy, Skyline and Idaho Falls — to stage 3 or the yellow category of the D91’s Fall 2020 Reopening Plan.

In this stage, students were on a hybrid schedule where they attended class two days a week and did two days online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: District 91 School Board votes on how to begin school this fall

“It took a fair amount of consistency. It definitely isn’t like a one and done,” Chelsea Schofield, a parent and part-time sub in District 91 who helped organize the recall petition, said about collecting the signatures. “We were able to get the needed signatures and then a cushion.”

The Bonneville County Election Office has until Jan. 12 to verify that the signatures turned in were from registered voters in the zones that Hill and Cogliati represent.

Schofield said they needed to collect 281 signatures in Zone 4 and they turned in 359. In Zone 3 they needed 481 signatures and received 563.

“It’s completely in the hands of the county election’s office. … The county has to count and verify the signatures and until they do that, the rest of us are all in limbo,” Cogliati said. “I’m eagerly awaiting Jan. 12 as I’m sure a lot of other people are.”

RELATED: Teacher’s union and advocacy group criticize D91 reopening plan

If the results are certified, Hill and Cogliati will have five days to resign from the school board or face a recall election in March.

Cogliati told EastIdahoNews.com that if the signatures are valid, she does not plan on resigning. She defends her reasoning as to why she voted in favor of the hybrid schedule and wants the community to understand why she voted the way she did.

“I have always voted with the best interest of the children and the schools in mind. That, and the scientific knowledge that has come about (with) what’s going on with the pandemic, those are the only things that have ever affected my vote,” she said.

LaPray and Schofield appreciate people such as Hill and Cogliati giving of their time and serving their community in volunteer positions, but they wish they would’ve listened better to those they were elected to represent — the parents.

“As parents, we want what is best for our kids and that’s why we continue this process of fighting for what we think is in their best interest,” Schofield added.

The high school’s will return to the Stage 2 or blue category with a four-day-a-week schedule effective Jan. 4, 2021, according to the district’s website.

EastIdahoNews.com reached out to Hill but she did not respond.

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