Another email, another problem in Eureka district

Parent upset over email urging vote of school board candidate
By: Sena Christian, Staff Reporter
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Emails have become the source of much contention this election season in the race among three candidates battling for two seats on the Eureka Union School District board of trustees.

Most recently, on Oct. 3, a parent directory maintained by the nonprofit Maidu/Excelsior Schools Parent Teacher Club was used by Eureka school board member and parent Eric Bose urging votes for incumbent Kristie Greiss.

Parents voluntarily submit their contact information for inclusion in the directory and Maidu and Excelsior parents may purchase a copy for personal use under the terms listed in the directory, said PTC co-President Angela Raffin.

“It is a service offered to our school community by the PTC, and is typically used for the purpose of sending out birthday invitations or setting up play dates,” Raffin said.

Using that directory to send politically inspired emails violates the club’s bylaws, which state: “This organization shall be educational, non-partisan and non-commercial. It shall not endorse anyone for office.” The bylaws additionally state that the PTC’s property — such as a directory — must not be used to benefit any board member or private person.

“I sent a personal, heartfelt and passionate message of support for candidate Kristie Greiss to many of my personal friends and fellow parents within my PTC under the understanding that such contact was allowed,” Bose said in an email to the Press Tribune. “I later learned that such practices are not allowed. I was not aware of such restrictions at the time, and have since worked with the district staff and the PTC to make sure the matter has been addressed.”

In an email sent Oct. 6, Raffin and co-president Shelli Bose — Eric Bose’s wife — issued an apology for the endorsement email, stating the PTC had not authorized this action.

But some people are still angry.

Parent Christine Glover was upset to receive the message because it was sent to a new email address she hadn’t been giving out, although she did supply the email to the PTC for its directory. But this year’s directory hasn’t been distributed yet, Glover said. Superintendent Linda Rooney confirmed that information.

“I was floored,” Glover said. “How can you get my name from a directory that hasn’t been released? To get campaign information was extremely concerning, to say the least.”

In late-August, the first email controversy occurred when the private donor database of the nonprofit Eureka Schools Foundation was improperly used to send out emails inviting people to attend a campaign party for incumbent Ryan Jones and running mate Renee Nash.

Nonprofit organizations are prohibited from participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of a candidate for elected office. The Jones-Nash event was promptly canceled when the foundation’s president learned of the breach.