RICHLAND, Wash.,- Community members gathered Sunday at Jefferson Park in Richland to gather signatures to recall three RSD board members after they decided to end the mask mandates despite the statewide mandate still in effect at the time.
“We’ve gotten this far in the process, there’s still several steps left to go.” said Brian Brendel.
A judge ruled in May of 2022 that the recall effort of Kari Williams, Semi Bird and Audra Byrd could move forward. Each of them is facing four recall charges.
Brian Brendel is one of the organizers of the booths that have been around Richland aiming to get the required number of signatures to have the board members recalled.
“How does the school district ask all of their employees to break a state law and show up to work.” says Brendel.
Brendel tells us that since there were three separate elections for the three board members. There are three different amounts of votes for the three board members. According to the Richland School Board Recall website the amounts of votes needed to recall Audra Byrd is 5,887, for Semi Bird 5,822 and for Kari William 5,176 votes.
We reached out to all three board members to get their thoughts.
Audra Byrd emailed us a statement:
“Price of a RECALL~$250,000
Who pays? The SCHOOL DISTRICT!
Following the unfortunate Supreme Court ruling, the petitioners have a choice to put our community through a recall or not. If they choose to proceed who is going to pay for the petitioners’ recall? The answer: the School District will be paying! The voters of the Richland School District need to know that allowing the petitioners’ recall on a ballot is going to cost us taxpayers $250,000 that comes directly from the Richland School District budget— this is money that would otherwise go to our students. If you choose to sign a recall petition you are choosing to have $250,000 taken from students and given instead to the Auditor’s office who will then put the petitioners’ recall item on the ballot.
It is also important to note this is an election year where three seats are up for re-election on the school board. You can choose to vote in the upcoming election this fall and save the district $250,000.
Let’s get to work and educate our children, not take money away from their education in order to support a dishonest recall effort that will only divide our community.”
According to Washington State law every city, town and district is liable for its share of the costs. If a special election is called where the only item on the ballot is the recall the Richland School District would bear the entire cost.
Visit the Richland School Board Recall website to find out the next when the next petition will be held.