Recall election date set for J.B. Atkins; no election date set for Carl French

Staff Writer

A recall election date of Nov. 14, 2017, has been set by the Broken Bow School Board for board member J.B. Atkins.

No recall election date has been set for Carl French.

The Broken Bow School Board went into closed session at approximately 8:15 Monday evening (Sept. 18, 2017) to for legal council and to consult with the school board attorney with KSB School Law out of LIncoln to address a letter sent to board members from French's personal attorney. The contents of the letter have not yet been made public. The Chief will report on the contents if and when the letter becomes available. The board came out of closed session at 8:48 p.m.

Board Vice-President Tom Osmond presided during the closed session, taking over from President Carl French just before the board went into Closed session.

After returning from Closed session, the board entertained a motion to set the recall election date for both Atkins and French for Nov. 14, 2017. The motion failed, 3-3, with Tom Osmond, Pam Holcomb and Mary Shaw voting yes for the date and Gerald Pirnie, J.B. Atkins and Carl French voting no.

Atkins said he had no problem with setting an election date for himself and made the motion to set the date for recall of J.B. Atkins for Nov. 14, 2017. The motion carried, with all six board members voting Yes.

Holcomb then made a motion for the ballot information which will read, in part "Shall J.B. Atkins be removed from the position of Broken Bow Board of Education member?" There will be two responses, Yes and No.

The question to be answered is whether or not the school board can remain in compliance with state statutes by not setting a recall election date for French. That question may be best answered by the Custer County Clerk.

When making the motion to set the date for both Atkins and French, Holcomb said, "As a board, we must comply with state statutes and state statutes calls for use to go ahead."

Atkins responded, saying, "Carl's letter contained valid points. I feel it's unjust being part of this, to have to hire lawyers to protect ourselves. I think it's clear the petitions didn't meet the requirements...I'm willing to set my election date for Nov. 14. It's Carl's situation that's an issue."

Pirnie's comment was that he disagreed with what he called a "do over" and added "Six months is six months."

After the school board meeting adjourned, French said he would consult with his attorney about releasing the letter to the media. He stated he was not present for the Closed session. The school board attorney suggested, but didn't require, that he leave the Closed session and he said he chose to leave.

In other board business, the board approved a budget amount of $10,990,000 for the 2017-2018 school year. They also approved a tax request of $8,375,371 (total personal and real property tax requirement for ALL other) and $440,363 (total personal and real property tax requirement for bond). The resulting levy will be 0.897114.

The bond is for the 2012 North Park Elementary addition.

Just under 50 people attended the school board meeting. After the meeting adjourned and people were leaving, a person from the audience spoke up saying "A lot of people support you, Carl, And they support you, too, J.B."