Recall attempt could cost Brandywine taxpayers $7,000

Published 2:45 pm Wednesday, September 3, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The recall effort made against five Brandywine Public Schools school board members could end up costing the school district $7,000 in election costs.
The $7,000 could become an inconvenient extra expense at a time when the school district -- like other school districts in the state -- is struggling to balance budgets.
School board members facing the recall are: James Curran, president; Greg Harrison, vice president; Cynthia Benson, trustee; Michael Shelton, secretary; and Philip Bozung, trustee.
Dennis Cooper, treasurer, is exempt from the recall because he was recently elected to another term in office.
Only one trustee, Mike Armstrong, was not named in the recall.
Bozung said his estimate comes from talking with the county clerk, who is responsible for verifying petition signatures if the recall language goes through.
If the language on the recall petition is approved, Bozung said the people behind the recall have a window of 180 days to submit the petitions to the county clerk.
The county's elections board has twice denied wording in the recall. The group's third attempt at approval is set for Monday, Sept. 8, at 8:30 a.m. at the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph.
Once the first petition has been signed, however, the petitioners have 90 days to collect signatures.
The clerk then has 35 days to verify all signatures and a recall election will have to be held within 65 days of that, Bozung said.
If the recall is successful, the school district would have 45 to 60 days to fill the board vacancies, which means the school district may have to hold an election to fill vacant school board seats in March or April of 2004.
That comes at a time when the school district is likely to be conducting bond issue negotiations related to improvements in the school district.
In other school board reports:
The topic of the in-service was "Bullyproofing School." The project was funded by the Berrien County Community Foundation. The in-service was held by Marcia McEvoy, a psychologist specializing in violence prevention in schools. Hecker said McEvoy will return to the school district to give presentations to both students and parents in the school district.