Claiming that Teton School District trustee Nancy Arnold “does not represent the views of the patrons in Zone 1 concerning the direction the schools should be going,” 23 petitioners are demanding her recall.
With the initial petition approved as to form by the Teton County clerk’s office, petitioners in that zone now have until June 30 to gather 60 signatures required to force a special election.
The petition began circulating in late March, shortly after Arnold and board members David Heinemann and Nancy Bredal said they could not support the concept of a four-day school week in the district. The concept died for the upcoming school year with no further discussion.
Heinemann is up for re-election May 21, with absentee balloting underway. Bredal is not seeking another term.
Arnold, at the school board’s March meeting, said comments she received by email were about evenly split on the concept, but she was worried about the morale of elementary school age children at the end of a 10-hour day. The combination of longer school days and bus trips to and from school could make a day that long for some.
She questioned how the shorter week would benefit the district and said she could not support it without more information.
Mary Lou Hansen, county clerk, said Tetonia resident Jeff Reiley led the current petition drive. The 60 signature requirement represents 50 percent of those who voted in May, 2011, when Arnold was elected to her current term, said Hansen.
If those are collected, the county has 15 days to verify the signatures, followed by a letter to Arnold asking if she chooses to resign. She has five days to respond.
If she says no, the county will schedule an election at least 45 days past that. Depending on when the signatures are returned, that could be scheduled as a special election on Aug. 27 or coincide with the Nov. 5 city elections in Driggs, Tetonia and Victor.
If the former, a standalone election in August could cost the county $1,500-$2,000. If the latter, it could cost the county several hundred dollars to print the ballot.
Jenifer Schaum, elections clerk, sent the petition-qualifying letter back to Reiley April 15. No further contact had been received by the petitioners as of press time.
Zone 1 includes Tetonia and most of the county north of Driggs.
Neither Reiley nor Arnold were available for comment at press time.