Voters in the Mequon-Thiensville school district elected to keep the incumbent school board members in their seats on Tuesday. All four incumbents being recalled, Akram Khan, Chris Schultz, Erik Hollander and Wendy Francour, kept their positions by large margins.
The Village of Thiensville had a 57% percent voter turnout, and the city of Mequon had a 51% voter turnout.
“We need to bring everybody together and make sure everybody knows that they are heard, and that we value everybody’s opinion,” Schultz said. He noted that board members will need to additionally “find ways to heal our community and heal from this process.”
The effort, led by Restore MTSD, gained enough signatures this past summer to file for the recall. The group cited concerns over the current board members’ COVID-19 mitigation policies, critical race theory being caught in the classroom and the school’s declining academic ranking.
"I’m not a fan of the CRT (critical race theory)," Dick Fischer, Mequon resident and voter, said. "I don’t think that should have any place. You can tell the story of the history of the country, but you don’t have to emphasize the parts that you have one group distrusting or hating another group."
Mequon’s recall occurred in the wake of a nationwide movement to recall school board members over COVID-19 policies and teaching race theory, with Wisconsin ranking second in the nation for highest number of school board recalls.
A counter group, the Coalition to Support MTSD, has been present in the community throughout the recall efforts, supporting the incumbent members.
"I believe in public schools, I believe books should not be banned, I believe equity is wonderful and should be taught to all of our students. That's what we're trying to do — to educate our entire community," said Nancy Urbani, one of the organizers of the Coalition to Support MTSD, following the election.
Signs opposing one another have lined Cederberg Rd. outside of City Hall for weeks leading up to the election, with cars honking in support of either side as tensions rose in the Milwaukee suburb. Some community members are looking forward to the return to normalcy in the area as students at Homestead High School return to a regular school day Wednesday.
"I think it has been very challenging,” said Urbani. “But I think they understand a recall should be saved for egregious behavior or malfeasance on the part of the elected officials.”