February 23, 2024
Teacher smiling while surrounded by her students
Republicans are trying to weaponize the recall process against school committee members across America. Now they're trying to bring it home to Maine.

Republicans are across the country are weaponizing the recall process against School Committee members who won’t ban books or bend to the conservatives will. In several states, Republicans have filed recall petitions against School Committee members who have supported diversity and inclusion initiatives, or who have refused to ban books that conservatives find objectionable.

Now Republicans are trying to pave the way for that tactic here in Maine. LD1102 would allow school board members to be recalled for any reason, and only require a small threshold of 10% of voters from the previous gubernatorial election to do it.

Not so fast, say Democrats.

The Democrats introduced a compromise bill a few weeks later. LD1443 would allow the recall of school board members, but increases the signatures required to 25%. It also states that school board members cannot be recalled for discretionary performance or lawful acts. In other words, if the school board member is following the law and carrying out their duties in accordance with the law, you can’t recall them. I support this compromise. Let school board members do their jobs but leave open the possibility for a recall if they’re violating the law.

Weaponized recalls have no place in Maine.

The national recall efforts are a threat to public education. They are an attempt by a minority of parents to impose their own values on all students. They are also an attempt to silence educators and to prevent them from teaching students about the full range of American history and culture.

We must stand up to these recall efforts. We must defend public education and the right of all students to learn about the full range of American history and culture. We must also defend the right of educators to teach without fear of censorship or reprisal.

We must not allow a minority of parents to dictate what our children learn in school. We must not allow a minority of parents to silence educators and to prevent them from teaching students about the full range of American history and culture.

We must stand up for public education and for the right of all students to learn. Support LD1443 and oppose LD1102.

Republican Bill – LD 1102 – OPPOSE

8 Republicans, 1 Independent, and 1 Democrat have introduced a bill to make it possible to recall school committee members. The bill was introduced on March 9th.

Bill Summary

This bill authorizes a municipality to hold a recall election for a member of a school board elected from that municipality. Only a person registered to vote in the municipality that elected the school board member may initiate, circulate, or sign a recall petition. A school board member may be recalled for any reason.

ME LD1102 | 2023-2024 | 131st Legislature. (2023, March 30). LegiScan. Retrieved April 05, 2023, from https://legiscan.com/ME/bill/LD1102/2023

Highlights

– Required number of signatures is 10% of the votes cast in the municipality for the last gubernatorial election
– Reason for recall does not have to be specified


Democratic Bill – LD 1443 – SUPPORT

7 Democrats responded with a bill of their own on March 30th.

Bill Summary

This bill provides that public school board members may only be recalled for specified behavior or misconduct. They may not be recalled for the discretionary performance of a lawful act or prescribed duty of the school board member. The petition to recall the school board member must be signed by 25% of the voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election in the municipality or, if applicable, the school administrative unit, from which the school board member was elected. The petition must be approved by a majority of voters in an election in which the total vote is at least 25% of the number of votes cast in the municipality or, if applicable, the school administrative unit, in the last gubernatorial election.

ME LD1443 | 2023-2024 | 131st Legislature. (2023, March 30). LegiScan. Retrieved April 05, 2023, from https://legiscan.com/ME/bill/LD1443/2023