MADISON — The Mequon-Thiensville recall is on.
The grassroots effort to recall four school board members cleared a major hurdle this week when the Mequon-Thiensville School District filing clerk officially certified the petition signatures.
Organizers are ecstatic.
The school board has called a special meeting for 1 p.m. today to certify the recall election day, which will be Tuesday, Nov. 2.
Board members targeted for recall are: Wendy Francour, Akram Khan, Erik Hollander and Chris Schultz.
Recall organizers collected more than 17,000 signatures from members of the Mequon-Thiensville community over a 60-day period.
“We are in awe of how this community came together,” Amber Schroeder, co-founder of the campaign, told Wisconsin Spotlight late last month. “We were told by multiple people, recall campaign experts, ‘You can’t get this done. Four (school board members) is too many. Sixty days is not enough time.”
Schroeder said recall signers and volunteers have different reasons for getting involved. Many are sick of the district’s stringent COVID-19 mitigation policies. Others have had it with radical curriculum and race-obsessed indoctrination in the classrooms. Schroeder, who has grown so frustrated she pulled her younger children from the district and enrolled them in private school, said a lot of recall supporters feel the school board is nothing but a “rubber stamp” for an administration disconnected from the community’s needs.
“Our candidates want to see a back-to-basics curriculum,” she said. “We want to teach, we want to educate, we don’t want to indoctrinate.”
Also troubling, organizers say, is declining academic performance over the past several years.
The recall effort faced some constitutional obstacles along the way. City officials stopped Recall MTSD School Board from putting up signs promoting the petition drive on public property. On at least four occasions, Mequon police officers confronted Schroeder and told her the sign violated a city sign ordinance and threatened to issue fines.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty issued a letter to Mequon Mayor John Wirth and City Administrator William Jones warning the city that attempts to enforce a sign ordinance against a group of school board recall organizers violates the First Amendment. WILL also highlighted how the City’s ordinance violates the constitution by regulating signs based upon their content, because the city allows other types of signs.
The city backed off and promised to review the current sign ordinance, according to the law firm. Mequon committed to halting any enforcement that may violate the constitution, WILL said.
Candidates who will challenge the four school board incumbents will be announced shortly, recall organizers say.