GLADSTONE, Mich. - A recall drive of three Gladstone school board members has ended as part of a new, mediated effort between the school district and its teachers union to solve their differences, according to the Escanaba Daily Press.

Recall petitions filed against two board members for voting to pay a state association to conduct a superintendent search and against a third member for voting against a new teacher contract all were withdrawn, the Daily Press reported. Since October, when the original petitions were filed, the Committee to Improve Gladstone Schools had gathered only about a third of the signatures needed, according to the Daily Press. About 600 more signatures would have been needed by early April to force a vote, Cindy Blahnik, committee spokesperson, told the Daily Press.

District administrators, board members and the Gladstone Education Association are taking part in federally mediated problem solving and conflict resolution training designed to improve labor relations, according to the Daily Press.

Superintendent Jay Kulbertis told the Daily Press that he and a representative of the Michigan Education Association had met with a mediator who stipulated that the recall drive must be halted before talks continued.

Blahnik said the attempted recall was part of the democratic process and was not intended as a personal affront, although those named in the recall may have felt otherwise, the Daily Press reported.

The Escanaba Daily Press, "Board recall withdrawn," March 13, 2009

Michigan Education Report, "School Employees Union Shows School Boards the Whip," Nov. 24, 2008