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Thursday, September 15, 2011

27 Days Remain to Obtain 36,862 Signatures in School Board Recall

In the days of Tammany Hall, names for nominating or recall petitions were readily available on tombstones. Today we are different and the task of getting almost 37,000 living signatures in communities where the total population combined numbers approximately 50,000 may seem daunting but Bloomfield 20/20 believes it can be done. Just find 5266 people to take five minutes to sign seven petitions.  People whose busy schedule does not permit seven signatures, seven printed name, and seven addresses may sign less. No one may sign more than seven or sign for a wife or friend. The days of Tammany Hall are over but B20/20 will mail petitions to a wife or friend. That sort resourcefulness plus the efforts of numerous of volunteers circulating petitions and direct mail appeals to past supporters numbering in the thousands makes B20/20 confident. As does their history, approaching 40 years  of involvement in school issues. Founded in 1974 as Concerned Citizens for Education, B20 /20 began as a group opposed the emphasis on building new facilities rather than educating. The name, 20/20, came about to indicate a clear vision for academics first.

B20/00’s vision is not however apparent to everyone.  Yesterday at the Bloomfield Hills Township Library, while B20/20 sought signatures, Brandon Kaufman and others from One Bloomfield United, a group that supports the school board urged people not to sign.  He said he had no idea what B20/20 stood for. With a clip board full of items and statements indicating perceived flip flops, he said he believed 20/20 didn’t know either.

October 12th the deadline day for petition signatures, will also be a referendum day for B20/20 which some consider sassy, brassy, and in the case of recalling the entire school board, audacious. On that day every school board member for whom   there is at least 5266 signatures will face a recall election in February.

The recall effort and possible recall election, is the last hurdle in School District’s desire to consolidate Andover and Lahser High School into one school. If the recall fails the School Board will continue with plans for a modest funding millage vote in the fall of 2012 and one school enrollment in 2013.

 B20/20 supporters say voters rejected the “One school” approach last fall when it appeared on the 2010 November ballot, as the result of a Bloomfield Hills School Board decision at a June 2010 meeting.  In June of 2011when the school board voted to accept the recommendation of a Fielding Nair Study to consolidate schools, as Yogi Berra said,  it was “déjà vu all over all over again.”   Listen to recall advocates and they will tell that not only was School Board not listening to the voters, but the study itself cost $863,000.  You will also hear a litany of other school related complaints .They range from elementary school closings which closed the wrong school,  to the assertion that with the average Bloomfield Hills cost per pupil at $22,000, the kids could all be sent to Cranbrook. Recall supporters arrive at the number by dividing the school’s annual budget by the number of pupils. School Board officials have supposedly said there is no way to actually determine that number.

One Bloomfield United questions the numbers and math on some B20/20 assertions. They also say that some the better B/20/20 suggestions have already been adopted by the Board..

The School Board’s next regular meeting is this Thursday September 15th at 7pm at the Doyle Center 7273 Wing Lake Road Bloomfield Hills Michigan 48301.  The Public is invited.  If you are unable to attend the meeting, it will be streamed live over the internet and archived for future or repeat viewing. It is also available in the Bloomfield area on Cable Television.

It is expected that all sides in the recall campaign will be attending in large numbers.. When asked if she would be there, Jennie Greenwell the leader of B20/20 said she would, along with “50,000 of my friends.”

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