Board Recall Petition Fails

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Michelle Phillips

MIDDLETON–A petition to recall Middleton Cross Plains Area School District (MCPASD) board members Minza Karim and Bob Hesselbein has fallen short on signatures. 

Angela Rachidi, one of the organizers of the group Parents for Change who filed to begin the petition for recall, said the group gathered about half of the 6,200 signatures it needed to force a recall election. “Pandemic-related restrictions on gatherings really hampered our efforts,” Rachidi said. 

Parents for changed organized and filed paperwork for the petition with the Wisconsin Elections commission on October 8 and had 60 days to collect the necessary signatures, which is equivalent to 25 percent of the electors in the last gubernatorial election. 

In the registration papers filed by the committee, the group asserted the following, according to a press release distributed in October: “By not offering an alternative to virtual learning to MCPASD students for the beginning of the 2020/21 school year, Hesselbein and Karim have failed in their officials duties to: (1) support the mission of the MCPASD to offer a challenging curriculum, (2) support the vision of MCPASD to offer an equitable education, and (3) represent the needs and desires of the MCPASD community members.”

In a statement on Monday, Rachidi said, “As parents in the Middleton/Cross Plains Area School District, we believe that our children deserve a quality public education that includes a choice for in-person instruction. After our attempts to work with the school board over many months went unanswered, MCPASD Parents for Change initiated a recall of school board members Bob Hesselbein and Minza Karim as a last resort in October 2020. The process allowed 60 days to collect signatures and we needed 6200 signatures to force a recall election. The response from the community was strong, but given the difficulties presented by the current environment, we fell short of the necessary signatures. We intend to find ways to work constructively with the existing board to give all schoolchildren in Middleton and Cross Plains an option for an in-person, quality education."  

Hesselbein and Karim see the failure to collect enough signatures as proof that the community backs the school board and their decisions. 

Hesselbein provided the following statement, “This outcome confirms our neighborhoods support and appreciate the hard work and difficult decisions board members must make to protect our students, educators, and greater community.” 

Karim’s statement read, “I want the community to understand that this year has been an unusual one for all of us. The decisions board has made to stay virtual was/is for the sake of the health of our students, staff and community. I am happy to serve on the board for the remaining of the term and learn from previous experiences. I am happy to be the voice of our community and work together.”

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