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Basye files lawsuit against Columbia Public Schools, Columbia School Board

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Former Missouri State Rep. Chuck Basye is filing a lawsuit against Columbia Public Schools, the Columbia School Board and its members.

Basye told ABC 17 News that he filed the petition around 6 p.m. Wednesday. His lawyer, Brent Haden, confirmed on Wednesday evening that he's filing it.

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.

CPD 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 spokesperson Michelle Baumstark told ABC 17 on Wednesday night that the district "has not received anything."

Baumstark in a previous written statement in December said 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."

The Board of Education's Candidate Filing Procedures states candidate filing dates are as followed:

  • Candidate filing opens at 8 a.m. Dec. 6, 2022
  • Candidate filing closes at 5 p.m. Dec. 27, 2022.

The website also states that fillings will not occur during the following holidays and breaks, which includes Dec. 23-26, 2022.

Since 27th was the last day to file, CPS said any "candidates who wish to file on the last day must make an appointment by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 22, 2022."

Baumstark said previously the district had to conduct its filing procedures in this matter due to the holiday weekend. The district's employment calendar includes Dec. 23, 26-27, as district holidays, which is why the appointment had to be filled by Dec. 22.

Basye said earlier he was aware of the deadline, so he claimed to email 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."

"I am free all day Tuesday, December 27, 2023 and can be at the Aslin Administration building to complete the necessary paperwork," the petition states the email reads. The date "December 27, 2023" is mentioned twice in the lawsuit.

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

The Columbia School Board passed a ballot earlier this month with candidate names for the April 4 election. Basye's name was not included on the approved ballot language. The sample ballot was passed unanimously by the board.

Columbia Public School's sample ballot for the April 4 school board election. [CPS]

Candidates include:

  • Christopher Horn (incumbent -- Columbia School Board Vice President)
  • Paul Harper
  • John T. Potter
  • Dean Peter Klempke Jr.
  • James Edward Gordon
  • John Lyman      
  • April Ferrao

ABC 17 previously reported that on Jan. 3, the Law Firm of Haden and Colbert sent a letter to the secretary of the board, Noel McDonald on behalf of Basye. Written in the letter, Basye planned to take legal action and file a lawsuit against CPS if he was not added to the ballot by Jan. 10.

The lawsuit states:

  1. "The opening and closing date for candidate filing for Missouri political subdivision
    elections is set forth in Section 115.127.5, RSMo. That subsection states:

    "If the opening date for filing a declaration of candidacy for any office in a
    political subdivision or special district is not required by law or charter, the
    opening filing date shall be 8:00 a.m., the seventeenth Tuesday prior to the
    election. If the closing date for filing a declaration of candidacy for any
    office in a political subdivision or special district is not required by law or
    charter, the closing filing date shall be 5:00 p.m., the fourteenth Tuesday
    prior to the election. The political subdivision or special district calling an
    election shall, before the seventeenth Tuesday, prior to any election at which
    offices are to be filled, notify the general public of the opening filing date,
    the office or offices to be filled, the proper place for filing and the closing
    filing date of the election. Such notification may be accomplished by legal
    notice published in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the
    political subdivision or special district. (Emphasis added)."

This story is developing.

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