‘The entire town’s heart sank’: Newberg School Board faces 2 recalls

Education

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A petition to recall Newberg School Board members Dave Brown and Brian Shannon were filed Tuesday amid the fallout of the controversial firing of Superintendent Dr. Joe Morelock.

In the aftermath of Superintendent Morelock’s firing, hundreds of people gathered outside of the Newberg School District Office to protest last Thursday, after the district’s board voted four-to-three to fire him without cause.

“Watching the meeting live, I think the entire town’s heart sank,” Zach Goff, the chief petitioner behind the Brown recall said.

Morelock served as superintendent for a little more than two years and was under contract through June 30, 2024.

Board members David Brown, Brian Shannon, Renee Powell and Trevor DeHart voted to fire Morelock, while the board’s other three members, Rebecca Piros, Brandy Penner and Ines Peña voted against.

That controversial decision is why paperwork to recall Board Chair Brown was filed with the Yamhill County Elections Office Monday.

The petition reads in part, “this single act, initiated by Brown, will cost the district hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

“It was a huge blow to our town, not just our school district and we saw an influx of people saying we have to get Dave Brown out, we have to get him out,” Goff said.

Goff is also part of the effort to recall School Board Vice Chair Brian Shannon and said they already have more than enough signatures.

This comes after months of debate and lawsuits over a district-wide ban on all political signage including Black Lives Matter and Pride flags.

“I was a gay kid in high school, I know what it’s like and for an adult to bully you in this way, it’s hurtful and scary,” Goff said.

The lawsuits include one by Brown, Shannon and two other members, who claim citizens in Yamhill County shared their private information.

Goff says they hope to start collecting signatures for Brown’s recall by the end of the week.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 23.

The District said it cannot comment on the recall efforts but said that last Superintendent search in 2018 cost approximately $42,000.

KOIN 6 news reached out to Brown, Shannon, and the School Board for comment but have not heard back.

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