Recalls should be reserved for law breaking; this is about a disagreementAstoria voters will receive ballots this weekend on the question of whether to recall four members of the Astoria School Board. Accompanying the ballot will be a statement by the committee supporting the recall and statements by the four school board members whose names are on the ballot.

This recall stems from a decision made in March by the Astoria School Board involving that is called grade leveling. When confronted by a state funding cut, schools Superintendent Mike Sowder proposed this concept to house children of various grade levels at one location, rather than in two locations. The savings from that reorganization will prevent the district from having to lay off more teachers or shorten the school year. Some educators say there are educational gains that come with grade leveling as well.

Many parents felt ignored or ill-treated by the school board in its grade leveling decision.

It is understandable that parents who disagreed with the grade leveling decision would be moved to oppose the school board members who made it. To gain a deeper understanding of the points of view on this issue, we urge you to listen to the audio of recall proponents and school board members on The Daily Astorian's Web site (

Recalls should be used to remove people from public office who have violated their oath of office or who have broken the law. That is not what this recall is about. Nothing approaching that level of malfeasance is alleged.

This recall is about a difference over policy, and that is not the purpose of recalls. Using the recall to avenge a disagreement devalues this ballot tool.

If the school board members were to be recalled, there would be no quorum to appoint their successors. Thus the new board members would be chosen by members of the Education Service District. That group includes no Astorians.

School board members are empowered to make decisions. There is no guarantee that all of us will agree with those decisions. If you listen to the audio of the school board members, you will see that this wasn't a half-baked concept they adopted. Bob Johnson is especially thoughtful and articulate in his explanation of why the school board enacted the grade leveling option.

It will serve no good purpose to recall school board members Bob Ellsberg, Ken Chapman, Bob Johnson and Dave Kaspar. We urge a "no" vote.


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