Recall Election Frivolous, Bad For School District

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The signatures are gathered, but it will still be days before we know whether a school board recall election will be on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Petitioners met the Aug. 8 deadline to collect enough signatures for a recall of board members Charles Brown and Michael Horton. In order for the recall to take place, 1,078 of those signatures must be valid. (See Payson Roundup article, "Recall collects needed signatures," published on Aug. 11.)

At press time, the signatures were still in the office of the Gila County school superintendent, Linda O'Dell. The superintendent's office goes through its own verification process before the signatures are passed along to Gila County Recorder Linda Haught-Ortega.

Once the petitions are in her hands, Haught-Ortega has 10 days to verify that the signatures are those of registered voters within the district.

The waiting game is taking longer than we thought. The longer it takes, the longer we wait to find out the shape of this November's ballot, the more uneasy we become about this recall.

If the signatures are valid, this will be the first recall election in the history of the Payson Unified School District.

While we believe there are times when elected officials should be pulled from office, we do not see the urgency to remove either Brown or Horton.

According to interviews, Angela Lyons, who is spearheading this effort, has given to the Payson Roundup, her primary motivation behind this recall is the board's decision not to renew former Julia Randall Elementary School principal Peggy Miles' contract.

She has cited Horton's use of a cell phone during the meeting when this decision was made to illustrate his apathetic approach to parents and their desires.

While it may have been inappropriate for Horton to talk on his cell phone while parents stated their case for Miles, it is not grounds for a recall.

We have to ask, "Is this about our children or is this about personalities?"

This recall election, we believe, is not only frivolous but it is also a waste of taxpayer money and a major stumbling block for the future of PUSD. The timing couldn't be worse.

On the same ballot as this possible recall, the school district is asking for a $33 million bond that would pay for much-needed repair and renovation to several dilapidated school buildings.

We fear that this recall election could be a hindrance to the district's hopes for this bond, which we support.

Recall elections do not happen in a vacuum. They come at significant cost to the taxpayer. The Payson school district, not Angela and Dave Lyons, will foot the bill for this recall.

Before another penny is spent, before another hour of county staff time is wasted, we ask Angela and Dave Lyons to think about the concerns of the school district they care about, and step down from this recall.

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