Judge: West Ada recalls are a go

Russ Joki
Russell Joki

Recall elections in the West Ada School District are still a go, after an Ada County district judge’s ruling last week.

Deborah Bail rejected an appeal to shut down two of the three recalls, which will occur on May 17.

The legal question surrounded the petition process — and whether recall organizers had gathered sufficient signatures to trigger an election.

The Ada and Canyon county clerks’ offices had determined that it would take slightly more than 300 signatures to trigger recall elections against trustees Carol Sayles and Russell Joki. Those numbers reflect 50 percent of the electors who had voted for Sayles and Joki in their most recent elections.

Sayles and Joki went to court, saying the threshold should instead be based on the district’s November 2015 supplemental levy election — when voter turnout was much higher. Using the supplemental levy election as a yardstick, recall organizers would have needed to gather more than 2,500 signatures to recall each trustee.

Carol Sayles
Carol Sayles

Bail rejected this argument in a ruling Wednesday, saying the county clerks had correctly interpreted recall law.

On Monday, Joki said he hasn’t had a chance to consult with his attorney — but said he pushed the appeal for several reasons.

“First, we believed the law was not clear. Second, we wanted to save the taxpayers the expense of an election, some $30,000. Finally, we wanted to end the drama that was started last September. Now, we go forward and continue to support (new Superintendent) Dr. (Mary Ann) Ranells.”

Sayles did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday morning.

Three of West Ada’s five trustees will face a recall in May: Joki, Sayles and board chair Tina Dean. Dean was not a party to the court complaint.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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