May 12, 2022 - The attorney for Semi Bird, Audra Bird, and Kari Williams announced that they would file an appeal with the Washington State Supreme Court.
RSD and the Richland School Board also announced that they had agreed to a settlement in the lawsuit brought by Arthur West of the Washington Coalition for Open Government. The lawsuit was brought in response to Audra Byrd's admission that she deleted text messages related to school board business, which is a violation of the Open Public Meetings Act (RCW 42.30).>
May 11, 2022 - Superior Court Judge Norma Rodriquez found that 5 charges each against Semi Bird, Audra Byrd, and Kari Williams met the state's standards for recall and therefore could move forward in the process to the signature-gathering phase of the effort.
Directors Bird, Byrd, and Williams have 15 days to file an appeal. If they do not appeal, signature gathering can begin on May 27th.
The five charges that were approved to appear on the ballot are:
Violated the Open Public Meetings Act (RCW 42.30) by voting at a special meeting taking final action on a matter, to wit: masking optional, that had not been included in the published public meeting agenda.
Held non-public meetings in violation of the Open Public Meetings Act.
Voted to make masks at schools optional, in knowing violation of the law and in excess of the powers of a school board, even after warnings from the state and from legal counsel.
Violated the district code of ethics by failing to: (1) uphold all laws, rules and regulations, and/or (2) use legal and ethical procedures; and/or (3) ensure schools are well run; and/or (4) consult those affected by changes in policy.
Violated district policies and procedures by failing to assure compliance with law and policy.
This recall is not about masks nor is it a partisan issue. The recall is about elected officials being held responsible for unlawful actions they took while in office.
On Tuesday, February 15, 2022, Richland School Board Directors Semi Bird, Audra Byrd, and Kari Williams participated in a special meeting, held a vote that was not included on the meeting agenda, and took the final action of making masks optional in Richland Schools, effective immediately. In doing so, they broke several Washington State laws and violated their oaths of office.
In addition, there is evidence that the three collaborated before the meeting to plan for taking the vote, which is in violation of RCW 42.30, the Open Public Meetings Act.
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