All public Clatskanie School District meetings have been suspended until the recall process is finished due to “recent perceived threats directed at the board and administration,” Superintendent Lloyd Hartley announced Monday morning.
The action includes a meeting scheduled for this Monday evening in which the school board was scheduled to hold public interviews to fill two vacant board positions. Hartley’s email says applications for board positions will be looked at after the recall vote.
Hartley was did not specify the nature of the threats in an email announcing his decision.
This means that the school board, which normally has five members, could be down to a single director if the recall is successful.
The recall vote is an effort to remove school board members Monty Akin and Judy Skirvin — both of whom voted to not renew the contract of Clatskanie Elementary School Principal Brad Throud in February. Two other school board members also stepped down recently.
Ballots in the recall election are due back on May 1. The ballots will be mailed out starting Wednesday.
The recall process has caused division and raised tension in the small town.
Hartley was not immediately available for comment. A spokeswoman with the school district said he will be gone all week on “district business.”
Skirvin said she was just told of the meeting suspension Sunday evening, and she said she likes the idea. She said she’s worried about public safety in case attendees didn’t like the school board candidates the board might select.
Board member Megan Evenson, who voted to renew Thorud’s contract, said in a statement issued late Monday afternoon that she is “disappointed” about the move. She said she was not consulted and does not know what threats Hartley was referring to in his announcement Monday. She called for her fellow board members to reconsider the decision.
“We have a budget to consider and a school district in disarray,” Evenson said. “So why are we really not meeting? Is it the perceived threats, or is (it) that they really don’t want to meet?”
Akin could not be reached for comment.
If Skirvin and Akin are removed and only Evenson remains on the board, the Education Service District (ESD) will send consultants to help appoint enough board members to have a quorum, according to Skirvin. That quorum of three will then appoint the final two positions.
Skirvin said she was fine with this process.
“I think (the ESD) has smart, very capable people, and they’re very unbiased.”