Brandywine recall petition wording OK’d

Published 3:12 pm Monday, September 8, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Wording of a proposed petition, which will be used to gather signitures for the recall of five Brandywine Public Schools school board members was unanimously approved this morning by Berrien County's election board.
The five school board members subject to the recall effort include James Curran, president; Greg Harrison, vice president; Cynthia Benson, trustee; Michael Shelton, secretary; and Philip Bozung, trustee.
Trustee Dennis Cooper is exempt from the recall because he was recently re-elected to a new term on the school board.
The clarity hearing, which was held at the St. Joseph County building at 8:45 a.m., means those wanting to recall the school board members can move forward and begin collecting the signatures neccessary to cause a special election asking Brandywine voters whether they want to recall the board members.
Recall organizers have 90 days from the time the collect their first signature to gather the number they need and have them turned in to the elections board.
Louise Stine, county clerk, said after the hearing she is working on tallying the correct number of signatures the recall organizers must collect in order to cause a recall election.
The approved petiton alleges the school board has failed to follow board policy; failed to perform personnel review on the superintendent according to policy number CEI; financial mismanagement; failure to provide proper oversight of superintendents use of school funds and failure to provide proper oversight to the 2002/2003 budget as per policy number.
Harriet Dean, a resident of the Brandywine school board and an outspoken school board critic, was present at this morning's recall hearing. However, Carol Ballard, who launched the recall effort originally, was not.
Contacted this morning at her home, Ballard, said the group of concerned citizens supporting the recall will now get ready to gather petition signatures.
This morning she had not been in touch with other members of the concerned citizens group, but she said they will discuss the outcome of the clarity hearing later today and the next steps that they need to be taken in order to gather enough signature for a recall election.
Curran, school board president, was not available for comment this morning.