ST. ANTHONY — Fremont County elections officials have certified an initial petition to recall Fremont School Board Trustee Ben Clark in Zone 1.

The certification means the recall effort may proceed with gathering the required 241 certified signatures that would prompt a recall election.

The petitioners have 75 days (until Aug. 14) to accomplish their goal. But they have indicated to county officials they hope to get the required signatures in time to prompt an election in August. To do that, the signatures would have to be into the county by early July. If the signature gathering takes longer, the election would be in November.

Clark was appointed to the School Board about a year ago after no one else volunteered for the job.

Julianne Hill, a longtime and state-recognized advocate for education, filed the petition seeking his recall. Initially, when the signatures were checked, it was short a name. More names were added, and the signatures proved valid, prompting the certification.

A petition to recall Zone 5 Trustee Phil Baker, a longtime board member who serves as board chairman, was still a few names short Monday morning.

Andrea Morton filed the Zone 5 petition.

If the recall elections move forward, to recall the trustees, a majority of voters would be required to vote yes. Madison County would also have to hold an election for the Zone 5 trustee recall.

The recall effort follows strong criticism of the trustees by Hill and others of the trustees' handling of a $2.4 million supplemental levy election and its subsequent failure at the polls.

Both trustees also have come under fire from patrons for their failure to accept a grant for an after-school program and for failing to vote to hold another supplemental levy election in August, the earliest date an election could be held.

The Zone 1 petition said Clark has "repeatedly shown he is not representing the goals and desires of his constituents."


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