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Recall petition filed against two sitting school board members in Woodland Park

WOODLAND PARK, Colo. (KRDO) -- After accusing two Woodland Park School District RE-2 board members of breaking Colorado law, parents in the district have taken the first step to recall both elected officials.

Two petitions filed with the Teller County Clerk's Office on Monday called for the removal of Woodland Park School Board Vice President David Illingworth and Board Member Suzanne Patterson. The deadline to collect the necessary number of signatures to trigger a recall vote for Woodland Park school board members during the upcoming election cycle is Monday.

The petitions claim Woodland Park board members violated Colorado Open Meeting Laws by hiding action items on the board's meeting agendas.

13 Investigates previously reported on these claims, and the subsequent lawsuit filed by Erin O'Connell, a Woodland Park School District parent. O'Connell filed the bid to recall with the Teller County Clerk's Office on Monday.

Back in April, a southern Colorado judge ordered the board to "comply with open meeting laws" and "clearly, honestly, and forthrightly list all future agenda items."

However, O'Connell is now requesting that a district judge hold the school board in Contempt of Court. She accuses the district of continuing to violate Colorado Open Meeting Laws despite the court order.

It's unclear at this time if the petitions will lead to either Woodland Park school board member facing a recall vote come November. Teller County government officials are actively reviewing all of the signatures and verifying they are representative of actual Woodland Park School District voters.

Recall organizers tell 13 Investigates they were required to collect signatures amounting to 40% of the total number of votes from the 2021 election cycle for each of the board member's districts.

For Illingworth's petition, organizers were required to collect 2,644 signatures, and 2,648 were required for Patterson's petition.

O'Connell tells 13 Investigates they attempted to get enough signatures to recall Woodland Park School Board President David Rusterholtz as well, however, they did not obtain the needed number of signatures (2,692).

13 Investigates has reached out to both Illingworth and Patterson for comment Monday. We are waiting on a response.

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Dan Beedie

Dan is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about Dan here.

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