Jake Speed

Jake Speed, left, was censured earlier this month by fellow Onalaska School Board members.

ONALASKA — It’s Facebook official — a public effort has begun to recall school board member Jake Speed.

A website, www.recalljakespeed.com, and Facebook page of the same name appeared Tuesday listing reasons to remove the embattled school board member. The board censured Speed earlier this month for his behavior in and out of the boardroom, and the Facebook page cites this as one of the reasons for the recall.

Other posts state Speed has failed to live up to board policy 1105, which outlines board member conduct and ethical responsibilities. The Facebook page also said Speed made false statements when he said he had contacted the FBI earlier this year about email attachments sent to him from board members.

“Not only did this reflect poorly on the district; it also resulted in additional legal fees due to the district needing to consult with their legal counsel,” the post reads. “This is unbecoming behavior and conduct for a public official.”

State law says an elected board member can only be removed through the recall process or by a local circuit judge for cause.

An elected official has to be in office at least a year before the recall process begins, and Speed was sworn in on April 25, 2016. In order to force a recall election, signatures from residents in the district equal to 25 percent of the ballots cast in the last governor’s election are required and the website estimates it would need to get about 2,000 signatures during the 60-day recall petition window.

Speed, who has refused to comment in the past, did not immediately return calls Tuesday afternoon. Speed did not attend the board’s budget meeting on April 17 and left the board meeting early Monday after voting against going into closed session to discuss potential property purchases.

In 2016, Speed beat Tim Smaby for a seat on the board after successfully challenging incumbents Smaby and Ann Garrity’s nomination papers. Smaby was appointed the replacement for departing board member Alana Havenstrite in June and won election to the board in April.

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Nathan Hansen has been the Education Reporter for the Tribune since 2014. Prior to that, he covered education, agriculture and business topics for the Winona Daily News. He is always on the lookout for news tips and can be contacted at 608-791-8234.

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