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Four Mequon-Thiensville school board members to face recall election

Posted at 10:34 PM, Sep 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 16:52:35-04

MEQUON — Four school board members in the Mequon-Thiensville School District will face a recall election in November. More than 4,135 signatures for each of the board members were certified by the clerk on Tuesday. Recall supporters gathered nearly 18,000 signatures in total.

The members recalled are board Vice President Wendy Francour and members Chris Shultz, Akron Khan and Erik Hollander. Recall supporters say the board members abdicated their responsibilities, turning them over to Superintendent Matthew Joynt. Particularly those surrounding COVID-19 mitigation and masking protocols.

On the allegation board members abdicated their duties, recall organizer Amber Schroeder said “that really upset the constituents and the taxpayers and the parents and the community members. Because we have a publicly elected board that has now said to a non elected official, 'you just take over and make the decisions.'”

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In past board filings, board members have defended their practices, challenged the recall and some of the signatures. Board members have said they acted within the boundary of their board duties when delegating some responsibilities to the superintendent.

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The school board called a special meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. to call for a recall election date to be set for Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. The recall supporters will put forth candidates to challenge the four members that could be ousted in the election.

Vice President Wendy Francour issued the following statement on Wednesday following the special meeting:

I have been listening. Now I speak out.

Dear Mequon-Thiensville residents,

I, Wendy Francour, share the following as an individual community member, not as a representative of the Mequon-Thiensville School District Board of Education. While open meetings law limits the ability of four or more school board members to gather together to compose such a message, I believe that the following may apply to all four MTSD board members currently subject to recall: Wendy Francour, Erik Hollander, Akram Khan and Chris Schultz.

As an incumbent school board member facing recall, I thank all community members for your continued dedication to the Mequon-Thiensville School District (MTSD) and the Board of Education, including those supporting the recall action. To be the best it can be, the District needs invested, knowledgeable, and involved citizenry.

The MTSD utilizes a policy governance model to provide the oversight that enables our public education system to successfully achieve the objectives and goals set out in our strategic plan. Utilizing this model, MTSD has become, and continues to be, one of the best districts in the state. In no way have I abdicated my individual duties or rights as an elected Board member by governing through policy, as was stated on the recall petitions. https://www.mtsd.k12.wi.us/board/governance

Per the most recent DPI report card, MTSD was ranked #2 among K-12 public school districts in Wisconsin. At the August working Board meeting the ECRA Group, which serves school districts across the country, presented findings that show our District exhibited student growth similar to pre-pandemic levels. As have most other districts in the nation, MTSD has been impacted by pandemic-related learning challenges and because our student-level data show that unfinished learning has occurred, the District has instituted a board-approved Academic Recovery Plan. https://www.mtsd.k12.wi.us/teaching-learning/student-performance-data

Critical Race Theory (CRT) is not taught in MTSD. (PERIOD!) In our District, diversity, educational equity and inclusion are tools used to address the learning needs and build up ALL students, lessening none. https://www.mtsd.k12.wi.us/district/commitments/equity/faq

MTSD is one of three of Wisconsin’s 421 districts to maintain the highest possible Moody’s bond rating, Aaa. This bond rating combined with the Board’s strong, conservative fiscal oversight will save the District and ultimately the taxpayers $15.9 million dollars of referendum bond interest. https://www.mtsd.k12.wi.us/district/news/story-details/~board/district-news/post/mequon-thiensville-school-district-maintains-aaa-bond-rating

When elected, I joined a high-functioning Board of Education, deeply committed to excellence. I am simply a volunteer school board member without a personal agenda, political aspirations, financial backing from nor affiliation with national organizations, attorneys, strategists, or lobbyists. I actively keep student achievement and well-being first, while representing the input and insight of all of our stakeholders.

Seek facts and stay engaged. Reject the recall and its attempt to hijack the MTSD Board of Education and our democratic election process. Vote to retain integrity and your current Board members.

Respectfully,

Wendy Francour

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