The superintendent of the Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District responded Wednesday to concerns raised by the Inland Empire Taxpayers Association, who alleged district employees actively campaigned recently for Proposition 30 and against Proposition 32 on school grounds.
Sherry Kendrick sent a letter Wednesday to Chris Mann, president of the Inland Empire Taxpayers Association, and copied it to district attorneys' offices in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
The letter reads in part:
October 31, 2012
Re: Election Matters - November 6, 2012
Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District
Dear Mr. Mann,
We are in receipt of your letter dated October 29, 2012 concerning election matters and the Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District ("District"). Thank you for bringing these matters to our attention.
We take public accountability and transparency very seriously. Our school district has not pursued a school bond in many decades. Voters and community members regularly ask questions about the proposed measure. We want to be sure that interested citizens receive prompt, consistent, factual and thorough answers.
The District is aware of current California law relating to limitations on elections activities. District Board of Education policies and District administrative regulations are currently in place which address prohibited activities (BP 1325, AR 4119.25/4219.25(a) and (b)).
The District has regularly advised District principals, officers, teachers and employees concerning permissible/impermissible campaign and election activities both involving the District and by individuals on their own personal time not connected with the District. With regard to the activities of October 24, 2012, referenced in your letter, District Administration did not authorize any campaign activities and was not aware of the proposed activities. As soon as District Administration was advised of these events, the District immediately notified District personnel that they should cease participating in such activities and reminded them of our District Board Policies and Administrative Regulations regarding campaign materials and prohibited activities.
With regard to District activities related to the District's bond measure ("Measure O"), the District has reviewed all materials with the District's legal counsel to be sure materials are neutral and fact-based in order to remain in compliance with the law. . . .
The District is not aware of any improper political speeches at "back to school" nights. All authorized activities have been structured to provide only factual and neutral information.
The District has worked hard to monitor activity within our purview and do our best to ensure that improper activities do not happen. We will continue to review matters to ensure violations do not occur. Thank you again for your letter. We appreciate your concern for the welfare of our community.
Very truly yours,
Sherry Kendrick, Ed.D.
cc: San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office
Riverside County District Attorney's Office
A pdf copy of the full letter from Kendrick to Mann is attached to this report.
To read more about concerns raised by Mann and the Inland Empire Taxpayers Association, click here.