Lane Malone speaks during the public comment portion of the April 16 school board meeting.
Steamboat Springs A group of Steamboat residents announced Monday it will proceed with plans to try to recall Steamboat Springs School Board member John DeVincentis.
The committee is made up of former School Board members and former DeVincentis supporters.
DeVincentis said he had no comment on the group's plans.
The group must first draw up a recall petition and turn it in for approval by Routt County Clerk Kay Weinland. Weinland has 48 hours from the time the petition is submitted to approve the language. If the petition is approved, the committee will need to secure the signatures of 1,933 registered voters in the school district to force the recall election.
A meeting with Weinland has been scheduled for 9 a.m. today.
"We are hoping to have things done by the end of the week, having language in and approved," said Pat Gleason, a committee member and former School Board member. Others involved in the recall effort include Paula Stephenson, Jim Gill, Tom Miller-Freutel and Jim Swiggart.
The recall effort was prompted by a series of e-mails DeVincentis sent between August 2004 and May 2005, while he was in his final year as principal at Strawberry Park Elementary School.
In the e-mails to a teacher in Mercer Island, Wash., DeVincentis admits that he "lied like a snake" to Mercer Island School Board members about former Steamboat Springs Superintendent Cyndy Simms so the district in Washington would hire Simms away from Steamboat.
DeVincentis also offers the teacher in Washington suggestions on how to undermine Simms, including using aspects of her personal life. He accuses Simms of not being a good mother and hopes that her teen daughter rebels against her.
DeVincentis writes that current Steamboat Springs Superintendent Donna Howell is "very similar" to Simms and mentions his plans to run for the School Board to change the administration.
DeVincentis successfully won the District 5 seat in November 2005, just a few months after he retired from the school district and the e-mails, which were written on his school computer using his school e-mail account, ended.
DeVincentis has apologized for the e-mails but said he will not resign, despite numerous calls for him to do so.
DeVincentis will hold a series of public meetings this week to allow community members to speak to him directly about the issue. The meetings are scheduled for 5:30 to 7 p.m. today, Wednesday and Thursday at Steamboat Springs High School located at 45 Maple St.
In a letter to School Board President Denise Connelly on April 8, Gleason wrote that Connelly also could face a recall effort if she did not ask for DeVincentis' resignation. Connelly has said she does not condone what DeVincentis' wrote, but she will not ask him to resign.
Gleason said Monday that DeVincentis "probably" will be the only name on a recall petition to be circulated this month, but the group hasn't eliminated the possibility of holding another recall at a later time.
"There is some worry that we will end up diluting the message because the absolute worst thing we could do is start this recall thing and fail," Gleason said.
The recall of a School Board member requires a petition signed by enough voters within the school district's boundaries to equal 40 percent of the votes cast in the School Board member's most recent race.
To recall DeVincentis, a signed petition must include 1,933 signatures from registered school district voters. The people who choose to sign the petition don't have to live in DeVincentis' District 5, which includes much of the school district outside city lines, said Sherry Wofford, chief deputy clerk with the Routt County Clerk and Recorder's office.
"We are talking about hiring somebody to oversee this to verify signatures so we know how many we have as we are moving along," Gleason said.
He said the group is planning to create a Web site and campaign.