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Clerk declares three petitions insufficient in Platte Canyon school board recall

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Scores of signatures withdrawn at last minute

By Sal Christ

After scores of people withdrew signatures to recall the Platte Canyon school board, the Park County clerk has declared petitions to oust three of the five board members insufficient.

According to Clerk and Recorder Debra Green, 177 signatures were withdrawn after Parents and Citizens for Education in August delivered nearly 3,500 signatures on petitions to recall Chet Lawrence, Katie Spodyak, Katy Davis, Susan Carpenter and Jon DeStefano.

The petitions targeting Davis, Spodyak and Carpenter have now been determined to be insufficient because of the withdrawn signatures. PACE needed 646 signatures for each board member it wanted to recall. Of the original signatures, the following were withdrawn:

• 32 out of 719 signatures withdrawn for Lawrence.

• 43 out of 684 for Spodyak.

• 34 out of 677 for Davis.

• 35 out of 678 for Carpenter.

• 33 out of 706 for DeStefano.

Going forward, PACE will have 15 days to collect more signatures for the three insufficient petitions, after which another 15-day protest period will take place. The deadline for the new signatures is Sept. 28, and the protest period will end Oct. 13.

While deadlines loom for the Nov. 8 election, Green said that whether the recall election will be on the November ballot or require a special election later this year has yet to be determined.

PACE has charged that the school district isn’t delivering on “high student achievement” in the form of ACT scores and graduation rates, and that the school board discourages public involvement in decisions. The group has also expressed concerns about poor management in the district and about water quality and emergency exits at Deer Creek Elementary School.

The seats of Lawrence, Spodyak and Carpenter are up for regular election next year. A PACE representative has conceded that the community has not been as engaged with the school district as it could have been — no board seats have been contested in elections since 2009.

Contact reporter Sal Christ at sal@evergreenco.com or at 303-350-1035.