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Basye asks judge to add name to April Columbia School Board ballot

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

A former state legislator will try to convince a judge that he should force Columbia Public Schools to add his name to the April election ballot.

A hearing is set for Monday before Judge Kevin Crane in former state representative Chuck Basye's lawsuit against CPS and the Columbia Board of Education. Basye filed the lawsuit on Wednesday, claiming that CPS did not allow him to put his name in as a candidate during the legal filing period.

Basye's lawyer has filed a motion for a temporary restraining order. The lawsuit says Basye is seeking an order to force his name onto the ballot because his lawsuit is likely to prevail and without an order he will be irreparably harmed by being locked out of the election.

The lawsuit claims that the school and board “acted in a clearly illegal manner in violation of Missouri law.”

The deadline for submitting the election slate for the April 4 ballot is Tuesday.

Basye said in December that he was planning to sue if he was not added to the list of candidates for April's Columbia Board of Education race.

CPS previously said if Basye did not make an appointment to file on Dec. 27, which he needed to do because schools were closed for the holidays.

Basye's lawsuit claims CPS does not have discretion on restricting when a candidate can file, as long as it is before the Dec. 27 deadline.

CPS spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said in December that the district's policy and filing procedures were publicly posted on its websites and buildings.

"Office holiday hours and filing information is posted on the front doors of the Aslin Building, advertised and posted publicly on our website," Baumstark wrote. "Filing was available by appointment and appointments were to be made by Dec. 22. Mr. Basye did not schedule an appointment."

Candidates could file between Dec. 6 and Dec. 27, the district stated. The website also states that fillings will not occur during holidays and breaks including Dec. 23-26, 2022.

"The district cannot create an unfair process for candidates that did file using the posted procedures as required by law," Baumstark said Thursday. "From our perspective, it’s important that during an election process we remain consistent in practice, including our filing procedures." 

Basye said earlier he was aware of the deadline and that he emailed CPS Superintendent Brian Yearwood to ask for guidance.

The petition claims Basye sent an email to Board of Education Secretary Noel McDonald and Yearwood expressing intent to file a declaration of candidacy "on or around December 25, 2022."

The petition claims Yearwood told Basye that his candidacy would be accepted.

The school board approved a ballot earlier this month with seven candidates' names for the April 4 election. Basye's name was not included on the approved ballot. The board unanimously approved the ballot.

One candidate, Dean Klempke, has withdrawn from the race.

CPS spokesperson Michelle Baumstark said in an email that the district received legal documents Thursday afternoon and reiterated its filing policy in relation to the holiday.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia Public Schools

Ryan Shiner

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