A recall petition targeting Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) Board Member Ian Serotkin has 110 percent of the signatures needed, Fight for Schools PAC organizer Ian Prior said Friday. Recall petitions aimed at other school board members are also nearing target amounts. The PAC has 88 percent of signatures needed for the Denise Corbo petition, 75 percent of signatures needed for the Leslee King petition, 54 percent of signatures for the Atoosa Reaser petition, and 50 percent of signatures needed for the Brenda Sheridan petition.
“As for next steps, we have shifted much of our signature gathering operations to Reaser’s and Sheridan’s districts. Our current plan, which is always subject to change, is to determine where we are during the first week of September with a goal of filing our first case or cases after Labor Day,” Prior told The Virginia Star.
Virginia recalls require a number of signatures from the appropriate jurisdiction equal to 10 percent of the number of votes that appointed the official, according to the Code of Virginia. Then, a circuit court reviews the grounds or reasons for removal listed in the petition. The elected official is required to tell the court why they should not be removed from office. Then, a trial is held.
Prior didn’t say how many signatures remained to recall Beth Barts and declined to confirm a rumor that a petition targeted at her already has enough signatures. He said, “We will release updated Barts numbers at some point in the near future.”
Loudoun Parents for Education formed the Fight for Schools PAC in April, months after Prior and other groups began investigating LCPS curriculum amid concerns over Critical Race Theory.
Barts has become a particular target. According to The Loudoun Times-Mirror, the school board has reprimanded Barts. Barts was accused of being involved with a controversial Facebook group that allegedly targeted anti-Critical Race Theory organizations in Loudoun, according to The Washington Post. The Post reported that after a four-month investigation, the Loudoun County Sheriff could not find evidence to pursue charges against anyone involved.
“After a thorough investigation by the FBI and the Sheriff’s Office, the cops found nothing to prosecute! The Sheriff’s Office report is a crushing setback for the so-called recall campaign,” Barts’ lawyer Charlie King said in an August 3 press release.
King told The Star the recall effort will fail, due in part to Virginia’s unique recall law that sends recalls to trial instead of to a vote. Successful recall efforts are rare in Virginia.
“Virginia doesn’t have a recall statute and Loudoun County doesn’t teach Critical Race Theory,” he said. “These recall people are going to lose, there’s no way they can win.”
King said, “The statute is designed for people that have committed crimes, people that are impaired, that have mental health problems or physical health problems, they stop coming to meetings, they move out of the area, they can’t follow the rules. But simply not following policy, simply being disagreeable, that’s not the statute.”
In neighboring Fairfax County, recall efforts are moving forward against three school board members. An Open FCPS spokesperson said a petition aimed at Laura Jane Cohen still has two-thirds or more of the amount of signatures needed and estimated that a petition aimed at Abrar Omeish has about one-third of the signatures needed. In July, Open FCPS submitted its petition to recall Elaine Tholen.
A hearing on a motion to quash the recall against Tholen was postponed until next Friday. Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano, who is facing two recall efforts, recused himself from the case, so extra time is needed for Albemarle Commonwealth’s Attorney James Hingeley to prepare for the case.
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