Resist the recall itch

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Recall the recent recall effort? That one, aimed at Coeur d'Alene city leadership, ultimately failed but lessons were learned along the way.

The most important lesson learned was this: Recalls are divisive legal alternatives that rip open feelings and render cooperation much more difficult for people on both sides of the issue.

A secondary lesson is that recalls are instruments that should replace normal elections under only the most dire circumstances. We do not believe the recall effort against Coeur d'Alene City Council members warranted that level of political warfare earlier this year, and we do not believe a recall effort against Coeur d'Alene School Board members is warranted now.

While there has been no formal announcement of a recall attempt against the school board, a number of citizens have contacted the newspaper offering that suggestion. We know it's being discussed and debated - around the coffee table if not in front of the schools' trustees.

Heavy investment in a park was the lightning rod for the city dispute; this time, it's the elimination of two controversial educational offerings, the high school International Baccalaureate program and its elementary school equivalent, the Primary Years Programme. The school board has unanimously voted to eliminate IB, offered only at Lake City High School, and PYP, available only at Hayden Meadows Elementary, at the end of the current school year.

In a twist of irony, many of the people who might favor a school board recall election are the same folks who opposed the city recall. Likewise, supporters of the current school board include a number of people who opposed the City Council targets. Perhaps mere consideration of a recall bid against the school board will not be unhealthy for our community - seeing a controversial topic from a very different viewpoint broadens perspectives and can increase understanding.

We don't want to give the possibility of a school board recall effort any more steam than it may already have gathered. Rather, for the immediate future, let's work together the best we can despite some passionate disagreements and save the turmoil, expense and other collateral damage that recall campaigns generate.

If you don't like the decisions of those who are serving you now on the school board, you can start working immediately to have them replaced by citizens you believe would better serve the community and the district's children. That chance will be at the ballot box next May.

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