Recall efforts are moving forward against two Idaho Falls School District 91 school board members.

Signature sheets were turned into the Bonneville County elections office Monday to further the attempted recall of school board chairwoman Lara Hill, representing Zone 3, and Elizabeth Cogliati, representing Zone 4.

The recalls are being pursued by parents opposed to the district’s hybrid learning model, where students attend school in-person every other day. That change, enacted in the high schools in September by a 3-2 vote by the board of trustees, was made in an attempt to curb high absenteeism and quarantine rates among students during the first month of fall classes.

State Rep. Bryan Zollinger, R-Idaho Falls, has a son in the school district and was heavily involved in organizing the recall efforts against the trustees. Zollinger said he supported Hill during her 2019 election campaign but that there had been less communication with the community since then.

“There comes a point where they are elected to listen to the people, and the overwhelming majority here wanted their kids in school at least four days a week,” Zollinger said.

District 91’s trustees voted unanimously earlier this month to end the alternate day approach for the high schools when classes resume on Jan. 4.

Bonneville County’s election office will now have 15 days, or until Jan. 12, to complete the verification that the signatures turned in were from registered voters in the zones represented by the trustees. Zollinger said the effort had collected dozens more signatures than the 481 required for Hill or the 280 required for Cogliati.

If the results are certified, Hill and Cogliati will have five days to either resign from the school board or face a recall election in March. Hill declined to comment on the recall effort until a certification but defended her vote moving the high schools to alternating days in an emailed statement to the Post Register.

“I made the motion to move the schools based on information presented to the board and a recommendation by the district and the current local conditions presented to the board by (Eastern Idaho Public Health). This is the same information that I used in my vote to move the schools back to the blue phase. This will also be the information I use and weigh for any future decision-making regarding phase changes,” Hill wrote.

A third recall effort had been started against Hillary Radcliffe, representing Zone 5, but was dropped early due to insufficient signatures. Radcliffe was appointed to the board in 2018 to fill a vacant seat, which meant that her recall required more than 1,400 signatures.

Brennen is the main education reporter for the Post Register. Contact him with news tips at 208-542-6711.

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