Glenwood school board members target of recall
A group of local residents is attempting to recall two members of the Roaring Fork School District Board of Education, and it is rumored that members of Glenwood Springs City Council are helping push the initiative. Jennifer Vanian, a Glenwood Springs resident, submitted a petition to recall board President Susan Hakanson and Vice President Bruce Wampler to the Garfield County clerk and recorder Wednesday. The petition cites negative aspects of the Glenwood Springs High School expansion as the reason for the recall. The plan for the new high school is inadequate on many levels, Vanian said in an interview. She said 35 people will lose jobs when True Value and other businesses are taken over. And she said the design is a “sprawling structure” that only increases building size by 25 percent but doesn’t add additional classrooms. One of the affected businesses, True Value, also contributes $1 million to Glenwood Springs each year through property and sales tax, and the building it uses hasn’t outlived its usefulness, she said. The petition also cites other land where the high school could expand, such as the building Bray & Co. rents on Grand Avenue, the district headquarters on Grand, and vacant city property between the Roaring Fork River and high school. The petition also points out the need for a hardware store “within walking distance of most neighborhoods.”The county only approves the format of the petition, not the content, said county clerk Mildred Alsdorf. Vanian has been a frequent attendee at the district’s open houses and board meetings regarding the school design. She chose to include only Hakanson and Wampler on her petition and not the other three board members largely because of comments each made, and because other members of the board are already up for re-election in November, she said.Vanian took issue with a statement Wampler read before a board meeting earlier this year, which drew a crowd that derided the district’s plan to buy commercial property. In the statement, Wampler said that the district had already made up its mind about buying commercial property to expand the high school. Many in the audience took that as an insult since they’d come to voice an opinion. Hakanson and Wampler said they thought they were singled out because they are the board representatives from Glenwood Springs. The two had caught wind of the petition before it was submitted to the county. Both repeated arguments they’ve used in defense of the district’s plans since the bond was passed. “We, as a board, have a responsibility to carry out the will of the voters,” Wampler said, noting that 58.7 percent voted for the bond, including its plans for the high school. “You win that big, I think the people are saying we’re doing the right thing,” he said. Hakanson had heard through the grapevine that city councilwoman Chris McGovern and one other council member helped push the petition.”That would be a rumor,” McGovern said, noting she didn’t know who was behind the petition.