Mequon-Thiensville recall election battle headlines national trend

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MEQUON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- After receiving 18,000 signatures to remove a majority of their local school board, the Mequon-Thiensville group "Restore MTSD" wants to campaign through the finish line.

"We have people going door-to-door," recall organizer Amber Schroeder said. "Our candidates are out meeting with people."

The recall election will take place Tuesday, Nov. 2. Across the street from the Restore MTSD red booth pushing people to vote out current members, stands a similar blue booth, where "Support MTSD" parents are pushing drivers and walkers to keep the current board.

"We said, we don't agree with that, and we think people should know," Support MTSD Treasurer Nancy Urbani said. "So we created our own recall committee."

The race for four unpaid school board positions has attracted the New York Times, billionaire out-of-state Republican donor Dick Uihlein and politicians on both sides of the aisle in Wisconsin.

It also underscores a spike in nationwide recall efforts, jumping from 29 last year to 82 attempts this year.

"We realized we're united with a common theme, and we weren't happy with what was happening in our school district," Schroeder said.

Wisconsin has seen the second most recall attempts in the U.S., trailing only California.

Most did not get as far as Mequon-Thiensville. Democrats have tried to intervene for the pro-school board side, but the Wisconsin Public Education Network said Republican financial support has given the recall effort fuel.

"There are political forces that are using that, are using that community as an example of what you can do to insert yourself in local school board activity," WPEN Director Heather DuBois Bourenane said.

No recall efforts have succeed in the state. Only one succeeded nationwide.

"People just want to elect public school champions to their school boards," DuBois Bourenane said. "People want school board members who are there because they care about the kids. And so I think that's the bottom line. When all of these politics get in the way, voters get frustrated."

Early voting in the race lasts until Friday.

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