October 21, 2014

Elyria
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52°F
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How can they remove school board members?

LORAIN — If angry teachers and residents can get enough signatures, they might be able to force a county judge or a jury to review whether Lorain school board members who voted in favor of massive layoffs in the district should be removed from office.
But to do so, they’d have to prove the board members were guilty of gross negligence, gross immorality, failure to follow the law or mismanagement or theft of money, said county Board of Elections Director Jose Candelario.
The Elections Board would review the signatures — 15 percent of the voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election, or 2,306 voters — to see if there were enough valid signatures of registered voters, Candelario said, although he didn’t know if that would be done before or after the issue was turned over to the courts.
If the school board members were removed, he said, their replacements would be named by whoever remains on the board. At no point, Candelario said, would the issue go to voters, as it did in California in 2003 when then-Gov. Gray Davis was removed by voters and replaced by now-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Recall votes can take place only in municipalities in Ohio that have a recall provision in their city charters, Candelario said.
In Ohio, several members of the Madison-Plains Local School District board were removed from office by a Madison County judge in 2004, but Candelario said he could not recall an instance where a removal effort had reached his office.
Hollie Reedy, deputy director of legal services for the Ohio School Board Association, said school board members also were removed from office by the courts in the Rock Hill local schools in Ironton in 2006. Those were the only incidents in recent years.
“It’s just very rare,’’ Reedy said.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.