The effort to recall Jake Speed, a school board member in the Onalaska School District, began last month. Recall supporters said it comes in response to Speed's "conduct and behavior which they believe is unbecoming of a public official and school board member."
Brian Haefs has served on the Onalaska School Board for eight years. He has never heard of a board member recall in the district until now.
"Not in my term," Haefs said. "And before that I hadn't heard of any recall."
Haefs said the school board is not associated with the recall.
"This is not driven by the board or the district," Haefs said. "It can't be. It has to be driven by the community."
The website recalljakespeed.com and the Facebook page with the same name continue to gather support for recall efforts. Organizers want to gather solid support before starting to formally petition.
"When you file a petition, there's pretty specific rule in the statutes that you need to follow, and if you don't follow all of those rules, the petition can essentially be invalidated," said Brian Weber, attorney at Johns, Flaherty, and Collins.
Haefs met with La Crosse County Clerk, Ginny Dankmeyer, to calculate the number of signatures needed on the recall petition.
"It becomes kind of complicated, because Onalaska has people in five different areas," Haefs said.
Onalaska students come from the Town of Onalaska, the City of Onalaska, the Town of Holland, the Town of Medary, and the City of La Crosse. After using a mathematical equation, Haefs arrived at a final number.
"I came up with 1743," he said. "I feel really confident that it's a good number."
The Onalaska School Board will get involved with the recall when it is time to validate the signatures. Until then, Haefs wants to remind people that this is an outside effort.
"We wouldn't want someone on the school board running something like this," Haefs said. "I mean, it wouldn't be fair. I wouldn't want someone doing it to me."
The Jake Speed Recall is still in early support stages. The next step is a challenger formally filing papers and a 60-day period to get the 1,743 votes. The Onalaska School Board is weeks or months away from holding a recall vote even if the petition gets enough signatures. Organizers of the recall effort said two candidates have come forward to challenge Speed, but neither have filed papers.
Haefs said the school board can only share Jake Speed's name and title with community members along with the number of signatures needed on a petition. The school board cannot discuss the reasons behind the recall with the public.