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Medford school board recall effort led by former Central Point teacher

An effort to recall four Medford School Board members is being orchestrated by a local educator and the husband of a North Medford High School teacher.

Chief petitioner Curtis Blake Weller is a former Central Point Elementary teacher and the husband of North Medford High School choir director Julie Weller.

The couple's publicly listed home phone number is answered by a machine which identifies the number as the "549C board recall headquarters." Numerous calls to the number Monday and today were not returned.

Weller filed initial paperwork with the county clerk's office Monday to recall board members Sally Killen, Kim Wallan, Marlene Yesquen and Chairman Jeff Thomas.

Weller was a music teacher at Central Point Elementary, but has not taught with the district since June 2010, according to Todd Bennett, director of education for the Central Point School District.

Bennett said they were unsure of whether Weller was working in another school. His teaching license is active through February 2018, according to the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission.

Representatives from the Medford Education Association said the union isn't directly involved with the recall petition.

"It didn't go through the MEA, it doesn't have the stamp of the MEA on it," said Rebecca Konefal, a consultant from the Oregon Education Association and spokesperson for the teachers union.

Konefal said that it's not uncommon for a community member closely related to striking employees to file such a petition.

"That's their right as a citizen" she said.

On Monday, Thomas and Wallan both said they respected the right of voters to launch a recall. Thomas said he thought it would further divide the community and Wallan said it wouldn't deter her from carrying out her duties as a board member.

Petitioners can't start gathering signatures until paperwork has been approved by the county clerk's office, which could happen as early as Friday.

A minimum 4,520 valid signatures on each individual board member must be gathered for the board member to qualify for a recall ballot, thought the clerk's office recommends collecting 25 to 30 percent more.

— Teresa Ristow

Read more in Wednesday's Mail Tribune.