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By ALAINA BARTEL
Daily News Staff Writer
A petition was filed with the Ketchikan Gateway Borough by Ketchikan community members to recall Ketchikan School Board President Trevor Shaw on the grounds of “incompetence and failure to perform prescribed duties by violating bylaws of the board.”
Borough Clerk Kacie Paxton will now conduct a review of the more than 700 signatures on the recall petition to determine their validity. If more than 540 are valid, the recall will be placed on the election ballot in October for the community’s consideration.
On the statement of grounds for recall, the recall petition sponsors believe Shaw “has exhibited a concerning level of disregard for the betterment and well-being of the district.”
It states that in “verbally and physically dismissing a student representative’s request to be heard,” Shaw violated a bylaw by “disallowing said representative ‘to have the right to be recognized at meetings, participate in questioning witnesses and discussing issues.’” This occured during an interview and discussion process of appointing a citizen to the vacant Ketchikan School Board seat, the statement of grounds for recall states.
“We need a School Board president whom is an advocate for our school district,” the statement continues. “Ketchikan must recall the position of School Board member Trevor Shaw if the school district is to honor its own mission, ‘To provide high quality instruction to every student within a positive environment reflective of our community needs.’”
Sid Hartley, an intensive paraprofessional at Ketchikan High School, said she spearheaded the recall petition. She said it all started after hearing comments from her colleagues and students about not being heard, as well as these people approaching Shaw and not being heard on the issues facing the School Board.
“It was a community effort … and those relationships I’ve cultivated with ... my colleagues are very important to me, and instead of talking about it I put into action,” Hartley said.
She added that recently there was a rumor circulating that the recall petition was a product of the Ketchikan Education Association, however she said that is not the case.
“It was simply because we as community members are concerned and we just are fighting … for our educators,” Hartley noted. “We wanted to have their back, and we just wanted them, and the students, and the whole district to know that we heard them.”
When Hartley says we, she is referring to the recall petition’s 10 sponsors that were required for it to be considered, according to Hartley. Those sponsors include Matt Hamilton, Jackie Yates, Kevin Staples, Elizabeth Jones, Austin Otos, Cassidy Patton, Christine Furey, Penny Johnson Lindsay Johnson and Hartley.
Paxton said the sponsors first submitted an application for a recall petition on July 16. Paxton reviewed the application in accordance with Alaska statues for grounds of recall, and also had an attorney provide a legal review.
On July 23, Paxton said she issued a notice of determination that the application met the requirements of the statues. As a result, Paxton prepared the recall petition for each of the 10 sponsors. Each booklet contained the specified grounds for recall, and a statement which says that the signatures were signed in the presence of the sponsor, and that the sponsor believes the person whose name was signed is who they said they were.
On Tuesday afternoon shortly after 4 p.m., Hartley delivered all 11 recall petition booklets to Paxton. Now, Paxton will begin the review process in which she takes a look at the signatures and verifies the names and addresses to determine whether they are valid.
Paxton explained that in order to be valid, the signers must be borough registered voters and must have signed their name, physical address and the identifier that they use on the petition. All of that must be legible, according to Paxton. The borough clerk said she has a current voter registration list and will be reviewing each signature.
If the petition contains a minimum of 540 valid signatures, Paxton said she would certify the petition and schedule it to be placed on the ballot in the upcoming election. If the recall petition is certified and is placed on the ballot, Paxton said the sponsor’s statement of grounds for a recall will be written on the ballot along with the question: Shall this official be recalled?
“In addition to that, the subject of the recall has an opportunity to provide to me a statement of 200 words or less as a rebuttal statement to the grounds for recall,” said Paxton. “So the ballot would then have the statement of the grounds for recall, the question of whether or not the official should be recalled, and the statement from the subject of the recall so that the voters will have the opportunity to see both sides when they go to the polling place.”
In a Tuesday evening phone call, Shaw told the Daily News that he plans to actively oppose the recall efforts leading up to the election. If the petition receives its needed valid signatures and is placed on the October ballot, Shaw said he will have a rebuttal statement on the ballot for the community.
Shaw said he wants to share his side of the story with the voters.
“And just talking about, you know, kind of what actually happened,” Shaw added. “I think there’s a lot of things going around on social media and in the community that aren’t necessarily true and so I look forward to the opportunity to be able to talk to folks and let them know what’s going on and just make that case directly to the voters.”
Shaw’s term as School Board president is scheduled to end on or before Oct. 9, 2019, following certification of the Oct. 1, 2019 election, Paxton said.