Archived Story

Recall petitions may be step toward change for the future

Published 8:11pm Sunday, June 20, 2010

By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star

Outside Eastside School, members of the Niles community added their names to recall petitions issued for three of the members of the Niles Community Schools

A rally was held at Eastside School on Sunday. The rally was focused on gathering signatures needed for a petition to recall members of the Niles Community Schools Board of Education.
A rally was held at Eastside School on Sunday. The rally was focused on gathering signatures needed for a petition to recall members of the Niles Community Schools Board of Education.

Board of Education.

A resident of the Eastside neighborhood, Mary Gallagher commented on a couple of families she knew personally who would be affected by the school’s closure.

A couple of them had moved to the neighborhood in the last year and a half, she said, “because their kids could walk to school.”

Now those children will have to take their seat on one of many buses which will transport students out to Ballard, Howard-Ellis or Northside school.

“And I think our property taxes should go down if they do take the school,” Gallagher said.
Monday night the Board of Education will hold an official vote on the proposed budget for the 2010-2011 school year which includes the closure of Eastside School. A vote was held in May to accept the recommendation of the proposed budget which had been preceded by protests and outcries by parents and school supporters.

But the purpose and the focus of Sunday’s rally was hopes for a recall of three board members, president Dana Daniels, vice president Michael Dreher and treasurer Michael Waldron.

Organizer and Eastside parent Jeff Harrell said, “it’s not all about saving the school anymore, their (board members) minds are made up.”

The hope seems to be a step toward change for the future.

Niles Teachers Union president and “Eastsider” Andy Roberts was also at the rally on Sunday.
“I also wear a community hat,” he said. “I’m a member of the community… I think this community wants neighborhood schools.”

Roberts called Eastside a “community center” and said oftentimes events were going on in the building during evenings and on weekends.

But he disagreed with comments made that the board had not received alternative options to closing the school from the public.

“We did,” Roberts said. “The teachers union presented them with a list of 13 options in December” to cut costs.

“None of those options were taken seriously,” he said. “People have given them options but the board doesn’t listen to those options … you could say they ignored them.”

Harrell said so far 400-500 signatures had been collected for the petitions. He has 90 days left to get a total of 1,777 needed to move forward with recalling members of the board.

The board meets tonight at 7 p.m. at the Westside Administration Building and plans to vote on the proposed budget.

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