DODGE, Neb. — And then there were three.
Half of the members of the Dodge school board were recalled Tuesday in a special election. President Brian Doernemann, Vice President Dan Wisnieski and board member Tim Meyer lost their seats.
Dodge County Election Commissioner Fred Mytty reported the unofficial results: Doernemann and Meyer each had 292 votes cast for recalling them and 165 against. There were 290 votes cast to recall Wisnieski and 165 against.
The election is unofficial until after the Canvassing Board meets Thursday afternoon in Fremont to authenticate the ballots.
The recall effort stems from the unification and merger of the Dodge and Howells school districts. Affidavits were brought in July against the trio, alleging they did not represent the wishes of Dodge patrons by ignoring a petition to consider other consolidation options and that the district was dissolved with no benefit to Dodge students.
The three board members said they chose the best option for students after negotiating with surrounding school boards, and that protections for Dodge students are built into the consolidation plans. They also said that a petition was not presented before the vote to reorganize.
Mytty said he's not sure whether the board can hold its next regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday because there would not be enough members for a quorum.
"The state statute says if a majority of any board is recalled, then the secretary of state can call for a special election to elect them," Mytty said. "If a majority is not recalled, the superintendent can appoint a successor."
That would indicate it would be up to Dodge Superintendent Randy Marrymee to appoint three new board members, but Mytty cautioned that a lot depends on whether the board is allowed to meet next week with the three remaining board members. They are Al Rolf, Kevin Ortmeier and Galen Uhing.
Mytty said the 65 percent turnout for the recall election was high.
"The turnout was really good for a special election," he said. "Very seldom do you see that."
The Dodge school district encompasses Dodge County and parts of Cuming and Colfax Counties. The estimated total number of eligible voters was 723.
The Dodge district must pay for the recall election, which Mytty estimated at $3,000 to $4,000.
The merger issue is far from resolved. There is still the matter of the lawsuit filed June 21 by two Dodge residents in Dodge County District Court.
The suit is an attempt to stop the unification and merger. The suit was filed against the State Committee for the Reorganization of School Districts, which approved the unification and merger of the districts
Unification started this school year, with the merger to start with the 2012-13 school year.