The effort to recall Northshore School District’s entire board of directors was dismissed in King County Superior Court on Monday, April 26.
None of the charges set forth in the petition met the criteria for a recall, according to Judge Brian McDonald. His order came exactly one week after the court dismissed a similar case regarding upset parents’ attempt to unseat the Seattle School Board.
“Petitioners raise significant issues with respect to the pace of the re-opening of the schools, and the school board's interactions with parents and concerned citizens,” McDonald wrote in his order.
The order says Gov. Jay Inslee’s emergency proclamation provides great detail about the significant harms caused to students by the lack of regular in-person interaction with educators, mentors and classmates. It adds that numerous emails from parents reflect their frustration and growing concern with the pace of reopening schools.
On April 2, five district parents filed petitions to recall all five members of the school board to the King County Elections Office. They claimed the board members have not done enough to evolve with new state COVID-19 guidelines and get kids back into the classroom.
Led by full-time working mother Dominique France, parents Eve Jakoboski, Keith Johnson, Daniel Moen and Byron Stoeser formally initiated the process with support from the Washington Coalition 4 Kids.
“This isn’t over,” France said in an email. “Elections are coming.”
The unsatisfied parents were seeking to recall board members Bob Swain, David Cogan, Jacqueline McGourty, Sandy Hayes and Amy Cast. Of the five members, three are serving terms set to expire this November. The terms for Swain and Cogan end in 2023.
During the first in-person regular board meeting of the year on April 26, members continued to hear testimonies from distraught parents over the hardships of remote learning. Although the district has shifted to hybrid in-person instruction, many parents who spoke at the meeting remain upset at the lack of response from sitting board members.
In the judge's dismissal order, McDonald noted that citizens will ultimately have a voice in how the school board has responded to these issues.
“Although we do not suggest that the imminence of a regular election justifies dismissing a recall petition, we observe that voters who are dissatisfied with [elected officials’] performance will soon be able to voice their views regardless of whether a recall election is held,” McDonald’s written order said.
NSD and its directors have not released any statements regarding the recall’s dismissal. They did not respond to requests for comment by the press deadline.