Niles woman files to recall Brandywine board members

Published 9:41 am Thursday, July 10, 2003

By By JAN GRIFFEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- A Niles woman has filed wording with the Berrien County Clerk's office to circulate petitions seeking the recall of six of seven Brandywine Public Schools Board of Education members.
Carol Ballard of 2475 Weaver Road, Niles, is seeking the recall of all board members except Michael Armstrong.
However, board member Dennis Cooper, who was elected to a new term on June 9, is exempt from the recall effort, said Loretta Schabloski, assistant Berrien County clerk, this morning.
Cooper is not eligible for recall until at least six months into his new term.
The attempt to recall the board members comes just a month after Brandywine voters overwhelmingly approved the sale of bonds to fund improvements at Brandywine school buildings.
A July 25 hearing at 8:30 a.m. in conference room 210 on the second floor of the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph has been set with the county election commission, which consists of Chief Probate Judge Thomas Nelson, County Treasurer William Wolf and Berrien County Clerk Louise Stine, to review the wording of Ballard's petition.
If the wording on the petitions is approved, Ballard will have 90 days to secure enough signatures to cause a special recall election.
To cause the recall, Ballard will need to collect the signatures of 25 percent of the Brandywine school district voters who cast ballots in the last Michigan gubernatorial election. That exact number has yet to be determined, Schabloski said.
Ballard is accusing the board members -- Phil Bozung, Cooper, James Curran, J. Michael Shelton, Greg Harrison and Cynthia Benson -- of "failure to follow board adopted policy, mismanagement of school funds, abuse of privilege, use of taxpayer dollars to fund bond election."
Attempts to reach Ballard at her home this morning were unsuccessful.