Parents Hope To Recall 2 School Board Members

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Petitions are now being circulated in Payson to recall school board members Michael Horton and Charles Brown.

Organizers must collect a minimum 1,078 signatures by Aug. 8. If they are successful, Kim Pound plans to run in the Nov. 7 recall election against Horton, and Angela Lyons will go on the ballot against Brown.

Pound, a lieutenant with the Salt River Indian Police Department, was not available for comment, but Lyons said the recall drive began partly because Julia Randall Elementary School principal Peggy Miles did not have her contract renewed in May.

Particularly offensive in the controversy, Lyons said, was Horton's behavior at an April 10 board meeting during which several of Miles' supporters pleaded to give the principal her job back.

"(Horton) talked on his cell phone the entire time," Lyons said. "Then, he and the other members allowed (individuals in the audience) just two minutes each to speak, then cut them off."

Another Miles backer, Joe Bayless, was also offended by Horton and other board members' demeanor at the meetings.

"The board didn't listen (to the supporters)," Bayless said. "They had already made up their minds."

Miles' controversial dismissal had tongues wagging on KMOG radio and letters to the editor flowing into the Payson Roundup.

In the May 12 edition, Laura Johnson wrote in a letter to the editor, "I have heard rumors of recalling the school board and hope that for the best interests of our children, specifically at JRE, the recall is a successful endeavor."

Days later, some JRE students and their parents staged an early morning rally in support of Miles.

Also fueling the recall attempt, Lyons said, is that Horton and Brown have been apathetic and "do not always make the best decisions on behalf of students, teachers and parents."

Lyons also alleged some parents and teachers have a prevailing feeling of distrust for Horton and Brown.

If Lyons and Pound can collect the necessary signatures, Horton and Brown would have the option to resign or face their opponents in a recall election.

Horton, who was in Boston when contacted, said, "I know very little about it (the recall), but I would be glad to talk (to the Payson Roundup) when I return."

Horton said he would be back in Payson sometime this weekend.

Brown did not return phone calls.

According to Julie Vasquez, the administrative assistant for Gila County School Superintendent Linda O'Dell, David Lyons, Angela's husband, also took recall papers against PUSD board member Don Engler.

Angela said, however, that recall attempt had been canceled because Engler was forthright and was trying to make decisions in the best interests of the students.

In addition to voters deciding the recall in the upcoming general election, they will have the opportunity to choose replacements for Albert Hunt and current board president Vickie Holmes.

Hunt has indicated he will be moving to Pine and therefore will not be eligible to sit on the PUSD board.

Holmes said, "I will not run, I have been on (the board) for eight years and it's time (to step down)."

Two persons, Rory Huff and Glenda Moffitt have taken out the paperwork to run for the vacant board positions.

Huff is the former Lady Longhorn basketball coach and was a member of the advisory committee that recommended last week to ask voters next November to pass a $33 million bond issue.

-- To reach Max Foster call 474-5251 ext. 114 or e-mail mfoster@payson.com.

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