Ballot language to recall the final three members of the Bloomfield Hills Schools Board of Education was unanimously approved by members of the Oakland County Election Commission today.
Following a brief hearing in Oakland County Probate Court, the commission, comprised of Oakland County Clerk Bill Bullard, Chief Probate Judge Linda Hallmark and County Treasurer Andy Meisner, found the wording on the proposals clear. The members also said the petitions to unseat Trustees Mark Bank, Jacqueline El-Sayed and Robert Herner were virtually the same as petition wording approved last month for other board members targeted by the Bloomfield 20/20 organization.
All four petitions to unseat school board President Ingrid Day, Vice President Ed Ford, Secretary Kate Pettersen and Treasurer Cynthia von Oeyen were also unanimously approved June 29. The commission reviews petition language for clarity and the potential to confuse prospective voters, not the merits of the petition.
Recall supporters specifically accuse the board of not acting in the best interests of the students and taxpayers when they supported consolidation of Andover and Lahser high schools despite a $74 million bond proposal failure in the November 2010 election.
In June, the board unanimously passed a recommendation from Superintendent Rob Glass on the timeline to merge and high schools into Bloomfield Hills High School on two separate campuses by in 2013.
While arguing for the approval, Bloomfield 20/20 member Dan McClorey noted the petition language was virtually identical to the previous petition and that the board went against the voters' wishes.
Herner, who was the only board member present, read a brief statement that did not question the clarity of the ballot language but emphasized that challenging the claims on their merits was not the hearing’s purpose.
Supporters formally declared the recall campaign this week and have 90 days to collect more than 5,200 signatures.
Jenny Greenwell, a Bloomfield 20/20 organizer, said more than 70 people showed up at her home Monday for the group's strategy session on how to muster signatures. She said all 100 petition sheets printed were handed out and she ordered a second batch.
“We would’ve printed more but didn’t know just how many people would show up,” Greenwell said.
Follow-up meetings are planned, she said, and the recall signs continue to pop up along local intersections and neighborhoods.
Meanwhile, the district is continuing with its consolidation plans, and Glass is expected to present phase II at tonight’s board meeting.