Hundreds of people in Paso Robles have signed a petition calling for a special election to oust the newest member of their school district's Board of Trustees.
Back in October of this year, retired U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence Officer Kenneth Enney was appointed to the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District's Board of Trustees following the departure of former trustee Chris Bausch. However, only a month into Enney's new term, community members in Paso Robles have filed a petition requesting a special election for his replacement.
A proponent of the special election tells KSBY the movement behind the petition to remove Kenneth Enney, stemmed from several recent social media posts made in a private Facebook group. Carey Alvord-Schof says Enney's posts were exclusionary toward transgender people and other members of the LGBTQ community.
"We were just really disappointed in the choice that they had made because we felt that it was a person with more extremist views than what is appropriate for Paso Robles and our school district," Alvord-Schof said.
She says she formally submitted the petition to the County of San Luis Obispo on November 10. While a school district employee herself, she tells KSBY she organized the petition as a community member to distance herself from the situation. She says that in order for a special election to take place, the County of San Luis Obispo must validate at least 455 of the signatures gathered for the petition.
"Within five days, we had about 800 signatures," Alvord-Schof said.
Officials with the County of San Luis Obispo say if the necessary number of signatures are validated, a special election would cost the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District almost $500,000.
"When we were advised of this probability, we immediately reserved money to cover it, so it does not come from any existing project or any other assigned budget. It comes from our reserves," said Dr. Curt Dubost, Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Superintendent.
But Dr. Dubost admits he would prefer those district funds be reserved for other uses.
"Any expenditure for a special election is of concern," Dubost added. "I would much rather have the money be spent on educating students or compensating staff or some other cost than this."
While November's general election is only a month behind us, some locals we spoke to said they would be sure to cast ballots once again, in the event of a special election.
"A special election happens because of, I think, a really unique and urgent situation. So, to my mind, that is really important," said Christine Rudman, Paso Robles resident.
"Especially if it is a school board. I would want to make sure that children are represented by people that care about their future," added Patti Claude, San Miguel resident.
The County of San Luis Obispo's Clerk-Recorder's Office has until this Friday to validate the petition's signatures.
If the petition is deemed sufficient, Clerk-Recorder Elaina Cano says Kenneth Enney's provisional appointment to the Board of Trustees will be terminated, paving the way for the next steps in a special election for his replacement.
Dr. Dubost, as well as petition organizer Carey Alvord-Schof, says they expect Enney will run for re-election if a special election takes place. KSBY News reached out to Enney numerous times for comment but has not heard back.