A group of Lake Mills citizens has filed a petition to begin collecting signatures to recall Rachael Davies from the Lake Mills Area School District Board of Education. The recall committee will have 60 days to get the needed 1,273 signatures.
Wisconsin’s recall statutes give voters the right to reconsider their choice of an elected official; however, it does not automatically result in removal of an official from office. The requirements to recall a local elected official include filing a campaign registration statement and statement of intent to circulate a recall petition with the appropriate filing officer, in this case Dave Roedl, board clerk, and preparing, circulating, and filing a recall petition.
If enough candidates are gathered and the signatures are certified, a recall election is held pitting the candidate up for recall against an opponent on the ballot, essentially setting up a special election mid-term. If multiple opponents come forward, a primary election would be needed to narrow the field to one to oppose the candidate up for recall.
Janel Pauli, a representative of the recall group, said Davies failed to abide by the bylaws of the Board of Education.
“Her actions do not reflect the belief statement of the school district as stated in the censure statement. She was asked by another board member to resign — she was censured — and so the next step is to just move forward with recall since she has not resigned.”
The group said the comments made to social media were not a one-time incident. Davies comments on her personal Facebook page, which became public, about a 50 Miles More march and ensuing car accident, centered on her fears for her family and contained profanity.
“Her recent comments were the inevitable escalation of what has been happening for at least the past year that I know of,” Pauli said. “I think she should step away from her board position until she has proven a new history of changed behavior. She needs to prove she can seek facts instead of rushing to judgment, and until then, I do not think she can be trusted to make critical decisions. It’s been over a month since the recent incident, but I still think she should apologize to the community.”
Davies said in a statement that as a school board member she did not give up her right to speak on social media or elsewhere about issues that affect her children and family.
“ I think most people understand that. I am vested in Lake Mills. I grew up here. My father worked at APV Crepaco and my mom was a school teacher here. Overall, I am proud of the inclusivity of our small town, but we can do better, as is evidenced by the words of children and families of color who live in our community,” she said.
“As a community member and parent, I am always looking for ways to improve upon the solid foundation of kindness Lake Mills has. I volunteer and I get involved in community service wherever I can as a community member and a 4-H leader, and as a fellow mom having co-founded the Lake Mills Children’s Clothing Giveaway for families in need. To that end, being on the school board was never about politics to me, it has always been about service and about helping to meet the needs of the students in our district.”
The petition must contain the signatures of qualified electors equal to at least 25% of the vote cast for the office of governor at the last general election held within the same district or jurisdiction as that of the officeholder.
Representatives of the recall group say they’ve been collecting signatures since Friday, when Roedl, and the district office, were notified. They are planning to start collecting signatures in the city and then moving to the townships in the district.
To sign the petition persons must be a qualified elector, age 18 or older, and live in the Lake Mills Area School District.
Roedl and the school district, will have 31 days after the signatures are submitted to certify them. If enough signatures are submitted and validated after any objections by Davies, the school board will call a recall election after a certificate of sufficiency is filed.
The recall election would be held on the Tuesday of the sixth week commencing after the date on which the certificate of sufficiency is filed.