Bannock County certifies petitions to recall Pocatello-Chubbuck trustees

POCATELLO — Three trustees in the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District have until Thursday to resign or face a recall election next year.

From left: Dave Mattson, Jackie Cranor, Janie Gebhardt

Bannock County officials last week certified patron petitions to recall trustees Dave Mattson, Jackie Cranor and Janie Gebhardt over their handling of recent issues, county elections administrator Julie Hancock told EdNews.

Unless the trustees resign by Dec. 17, they will face potential recall in an upcoming election, likely on March 9, Hancock said Tuesday. “We plan to discuss (a timeframe) this afternoon.”

Pocatello-Chubbuck parents Brandi Clark, Jesse Ward and Troy Sutton in September began gathering signatures to recall the trustees after controversial decisions from the board in recent months.

In September, trustees voted to drop Pocatello High School’s Indians mascot. Two days later, they approved the continuation of a hybrid learning model for high schoolers until the end of the trimester.

Those votes, along with the board’s controversial handling of local boundary changes in 2018, represent a “larger problem” in the district, Clark said in September.

The district addressed the recall effort in a statement to EdNews Tuesday afternoon, calling trustees “well-trained and committed.”

“Board members understand that not every decision will gain community consensus,” the statement reads. “It is important to note, however, that each member continually receives strong opinions on every side of topical issues.”

The county spent weeks validating hundreds of petition signatures before certifying the recall effort, Hancock said. County officials have notified Mattson, Cranor and Gebhardt of the looming recall.

To be ousted by voters, each trustee must receive a majority of votes calling for their recall. The recall votes must also either meet or exceed the number of votes that originally put them into office.

Mattson, Cranor and Gebhardt were elected to the school board in May 2017. They are each up for reelection in November 2021.

Devin Bodkin

Devin Bodkin

EdNews assistant editor and reporter Devin Bodkin is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He lives and works in East Idaho. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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