Archive for Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Piper board members survive recall vote

November 6, 2002

A controversy in the Piper School District got thicker with the uncertainty surrounding Tuesday night's recall vote for at least one school board member.

According to the Wyandotte County Election Office, the two members slated for recall James Swanson and Chris McCord survived the recall vote.

For now.

Election officials said there are still questions to numerous provisional ballots.

The ballots will be reviewed later this week.

The question of whether Swanson will remain on the school board appears to be moot: 1,338 people, 52.84 percent, voted for him to remain as board member, against 1,194 votes or 47.16 percent for recall.

But McCord's situation is somewhat more tentative. The former board president received 1,258 votes, 50.06 percent, to remain as board member, against 1,255 votes or 49.94 percent for recall.

The election results are not official until the questionable ballots can be reviewed by hand later this week.

County election officials were not sure off-hand Tuesday night what would happen in the event of a tie.

The controversy in the school district began in December when a plagiarism scandal erupted at Piper High School.

That's when PHS biology teacher Christine Pelton questioned whether sophomore students had plagiarized an assignment worth 50 percent of their overall grade.

After taking parent complaints, the Piper School Board overturned the teacher's decision and lowered the assignment's value to 30 percent.

Pelton resigned following the board's action.

In July, a group of parents, teachers and former students began a petition to ouster Swanson, McCord and Greg Netzer.

Netzer resigned from the board in June.

Rebecca Jacobs, a member of the recall group, said she was disappointed with the voting results.

"I think you can certainly understand we're disappointed they weren't removed from office," Jacobs said. "(The voters) obviously have spoken."

Although the results did not favor the recall group, Jacobs said she was pleased the recall resulted in strong voter turnout.

"If we've done nothing else, we got people to the polls and out to vote," she said.

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