FARGO — The Fargo School District plans to release the results of its review of recall petition signatures this week about a month after a group of parents trying to oust four school board members turned in the signatures with the aim of prompting a special election.
If enough signatures are validated, a special election will be called. The Recall Fargo School Board group is behind the effort. The group emerged from the Facebook group called ND Parents Against Distance Learning, and had until Aug. 26 to find the 16,576 signatures (4,144 signatures per board member) needed to recall members Seth Holden, Tracie Newman, Nikkie Gullickson and Jim Johnson.
The signatures were submitted to Jackie Gapp, the filing officer and business manager for Fargo Public Schools, who has 30 days to review the signatures.
According to North Dakota law, a random sampling of the signatures can be taken to ensure those involved are qualified electors, that no names were included more than once, and that each elector signed the petition in the presence of someone circulating the petition, among other stipulations.
If enough signatures are validated, the name of each official to be recalled would automatically be placed on the special election ballot unless the official resigns within 10 days. Challengers would also be able to file for a spot on the ballot.
The filing officer would call for a special election to be held no sooner than 95 days or later than 105 days after the certification date. A special election cannot be called if that date is within 95 days of the next regularly scheduled election.
If approved, the special election would occur in January 2022, according to AnnMarie Campbell, district spokeswoman.
Fargo School Board President Rebecca Knutson said the law requires the district to pay for a special election, which could cost as much as $30,000.
Although any interested party can challenge a seat during a special election, the recall group’s current frontrunners include: Allie Ollenburger, Glenn Wilcox, Alexis Scott and Jon Anas.
The recall group also plans to oppose board member Knutson in the 2022 school board election.