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The Boulder Valley school board on Tuesday heard an update on the costs of a potential recall election for three board members, as well as an update from public health officials on the coronavirus pandemic.

Nine people are seeking to recall the three board members over concerns about decisions made regarding the pandemic. The school district was notified earlier this month that proposed petitions to recall Kathy Gebhardt, Richard Garcia and Lisa Sweeney-Miran were filed with the Boulder County Clerk’s office.

Kari Albright, Boulder Valley budget services director, said the estimated cost — whether there’s a recall for one board member or all three — is about $670,000. The cost includes conducting elections in Boulder, Broomfield and Gilpin counties and is higher than for a regular school board election because the cost is not shared by other municipalities.

Superintendent Rob Anderson said the money would come from one-time, unspent dollars that couldn’t go toward district priorities.

“We don’t have a rainy day, one-time recall election fund,” he said. “The $650,000 question is what these dollars could be spent on beside the recall election.”

The three board members can provide written responses to the recall, and those statements are incorporated into the petition, according to county officials. The recall committees then submit another draft of the petition and, if approved, the committees have 60 days to gather 15,000 signatures for each petition. Boulder Valley officials said they haven’t heard that the petitions have been approved.

If the Boulder County Clerk’s office verifies 15,000 signatures, a recall election will take place.

The three petitions list eight reasons for the recall, including demonstrating a “callous disregard” for students’ physical and mental health by mandating masks and promoting coronavirus vaccines authorized for emergency use. The school district’s mask requirement aligns with a Boulder County Board of Health order for all students and staff in all schools and child care facilities to wear masks.

Public health officials from Boulder and Broomfield counties spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, providing an update on case numbers — trending down but still above the high transmission threshold — and reporting that mask wearing and high vaccination rates are keeping transmission low in schools. Cases are highest in both counties among children under 12, who aren’t yet eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, they said.

“There is data to support masking in schools,” said Deb Federspiel, deputy director of Broomfield​ Public Health.

Most of Tuesday’s public speakers urged people not to sign the recall, saying they support board members who follow public health guidance and don’t want to see money spent on a recall instead of in classrooms.

“Please tell your friends and family to stop this nonsense and do what’s right for this district,” said Boulder Valley Education Association President Patty Delgado.

​Parent Tangi Lancaster called the recall effort “abhorrent” and said it’s part of a broader extremist movement.

“The most egregious lie of them all is (recall petition reason) No. 4, as not one school board member has mandated masks indefinitely,” she said.

Michele Van Fleet, one of the recall’s nine petitioners, spoke in support and said she wants samples from the masks children wear in school to be taken so they can be tested in a lab. She also asked the district to collect blood samples from students and staff members to test for carbon dioxide poisoning.

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