D91 Trustee Cogliati

Idaho Falls Schools District 91 Trustee Elizabeth Cogliati during a board meeting in August 2020.

Elizabeth Cogliati will face a recall vote for her position as trustee for Idaho Falls School District 91 during the March 9 election.

Cogliati was elected in November 2019 to represent Zone 4. The recall effort against her was launched in response to her vote in favor of limited in-person classes at the district high schools this fall to control the coronavirus.

"I have done nothing wrong. I just voted with science and logic and made the best decisions I know how to make in the midst of a pandemic," Cogliati said.

Campaigns to recall three of the Idaho Falls school board members began in October, after the board voted to move the high schools into an alternating day model. Idaho Falls Rep. Barbara Ehardt and former Rep. Bryan Zollinger spoke at a protest rally against the district where the recalls were first publicly announced.

A signature sheet for the recall of trustee Lara Hill was submitted to the Bonneville County elections office in December but not enough signatures were verified to residents of her zone for it to appear on the March ballot. Hill was reelected as board chairwoman during the school board meeting on Jan. 13.

Cogliati said the schedule change may not have fully slowed the effects of the coronavirus within the district but that it did help lower the high number of absences and quarantines that took place during the first month of the school year.

"We stopped seeing that when we put the classes into hybrid. We reduced the number of children in classrooms and … never had to fully close a school, which was something I was really worried about. No one wants us to close," Cogliati said.

The high schools remained in the phase of alternating in-person and online days until after Christmas break. After returning the high schools to four days a week of lessons, the district loosened the quarantine requirement for students in close contact with someone who tested positive while correctly wearing a mask.

The recall effort will be voted on by residents of Zone 4 during the March 9 election. If voters choose to recall Cogliati, the board of trustees may hold an emergency meeting to appoint a replacement before the next official board meeting.

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