Legislation being drafted to allow recall vote of Union Co. school board

Union County parents suing to stop the school board’s controversial redistricting plan are turning to another tactic – trying to kick the board out of office.

State Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union, said Tuesday he is preparing legislation to allow for the recall of school board members, and is doing so at the request of numerous parents.

“I’ve always supported the concept of recall,” Horn said.

In an unexpected move in early March, the school board approved redistricting. That plan deals with overcrowding by having several thousand students attend less crowded schools.

Horn said the legislation is still being drafted, and such a local bill needs the support of the other four county legislative members before it can be introduced. He told them he is drafting the plan but doesn’t know if they will support it.

Horn is modeling the legislation on a 2011 plan for Burke County’s school board. It says that if at least 15 percent of registered voters sign a recall petition, that would trigger a recall vote.

Union County has about 140,000 registered voters, so a petition would need at least 21,000 signatures.

If the bill is approved, the earliest it could take effect is December, Horn said. Five of nine seats on the board are up for election in November, which provides another way for voters to be heard.

School board Chairman Richard Yercheck declined to comment because he had not seen the plan.

The parents group suing the board over redistricting, Citizens for Adequate Public Schools, intends to lobby for the legislation.

“We want to send a message,” said Aaron Asbra, a board member of the parents group. “There are consequences for their actions.”

Last month, parents sued the school board, claiming that redistricting was illegally approved and developed in secret. The school board has denied it acted improperly.

The case is pending, and the district is proceeding with redistricting plans to start in the upcoming school year.

Horn said he was concerned with the process by which redistricting was approved but said he was not going to weigh in on redistricting itself since the state does not have a role in it.

Parents have said they are worried about the disruption redistricting would cause their children. Others expressed concerns about long bus rides, the condition of older schools their kids might attend and the impact redistricting could have on neighborhood property values.