School board recall:
How it works

Key steps are getting recall petition language approved, gathering signatures, and finding new school board candidates to come forward.

A school board member is an elected position. If the community that elected the person is not satisfied with his/her actions as a school board member, the only way to remove that person from office is to hold a recall election.


In general terms, the recall election process involves getting recall petition language approved by the county election commission, gathering enough signatures of registered voters in the community to move forward with the recall election, and the calling for (and holding of) a special election.


To be recalled, a school board member does not have to have engaged in misconduct per se. He or she can be recalled simply based on votes cast or positions taken at meetings.

New candidates needed

Under Michigan laws passed in 2012, the special election combines the recall with a “special election to fill a vacancy.” New school board candidates must come forward to provide alternatives to Sue Kelly, Pam Forton, and Matt Anderson.


On election day, voters can choose from the incumbent school board members or the new candidates. If a new candidate gets the highest number of votes, he or she takes over the remaining term of the incumbent school board member. In this manner, the incumbent is “recalled.”

What if the school board member resigns?

If one of the three school board member resigns when the signatures are being collected (or even after the call for the election has been issued), he or she is removed from the recall ballot. If all three school board members resign, the recall election is cancelled. Positions are filled using existing school board vacancy policies.

Recall elections have time frame limits

There are time frame limits on when school board members can be recalled. Recall petition language cannot be submitted during a school board member’s first and last six months in office for a two-year position nor the school board member’s first and last year in office for a position that last over two years.


State of


2019 TCAPS Transparency in Education.

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