Ballots have been mailed out for the upcoming special election for the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District (PRJUSD).
According to the San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder’s Office, around 31,000 vote-by-mail ballots were dropped off for distribution on Monday.
After being ousted from a spot on the PRJUSD Board of Trustees, Kenney Enney is running to reclaim his position.
“I was on the board for 60 days, I've watched the board meetings and attended board meetings for the last couple of years, and those issues are never addressed, and that's really the fault of the board,” Enney said. “The board, again, should be focused on its primary mission, its core competencies, which are academics and safety.”
Angela Hollander is the other name on the ballot. She has been involved with the district for years but is now looking to become a board member.
“I believe in the promise of public education. We have to educate all of our children, and it's vitally important,” Hollander said. “Being a first-generation student myself [on her father's side], I understand what families face sometimes when they're new to the community, and we have to make them feel welcomed. That’s my passion. That’s a passion of my family.”
But how did we get to a special election that the district says will cost about $500,000?
Enney was appointed to the board back in October 2022.
After he made several posts in a private Facebook group that some members of the Paso Robles community found to be exclusionary toward transgender people and other members of the LGBTQ community, a petition was launched to remove him.
“I don't think anything I said or was ever a threat,” Enney said about his posts. “So, again, we have to learn how to respect one another's opinions.”
That petition gathered enough signatures to oust him.
Enney submitted two complaints to the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) alleging a mishandling of the special election.
The district said in a statement that one of those complaints was dismissed by the FPPC. The district is planning to issue a response to the second complaint later this week.
Back to the candidates: Hollander worked as a neonatal intensive care nurse and managed scholarships for the Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo County.
Her top three issues include high-quality education, safe schools, and fiscal accountability.
“They go from having a primary teacher who teaches all subjects to in middle school, it is a subject teacher,” Hollander explained. “That's where we could implement math labs tutoring real-time to see where's the gap [and] address the gaps so they can move forward and smaller class sizes for those children that are struggling.”
Enney is a retired U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence Officer, a businessman, and rancher.
His top three issues are safety, improving academic performance, and citizenship.
“Once you set good order in order and discipline, you start establishing standards, and the standards have to be those academic standards,” Enney said. “We have the bilingual school at Georgia Brown; I would like to see every school, every elementary school be bilingual starting kindergarten on up.”
This is how the candidates responded when asked why residents in Paso Robles should vote for them:
“There is only one person running for this position who has 45 years of professional experience working with children and their families from birth to 21 years of age,” Hollander said.
“I think what I am going to bring to the equation is the fact that I've got probably more leadership experience than Mrs. Hollander, and I think that is what is lacking in the district right now,” Enney responded.
If you want to learn more about the candidates running for this special election, there will be a forum on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, at 7 p.m.
The American Association of University Women is organizing the event at the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Office. The District is not leading nor moderating the panel.
To view Hollander’s campaign website, click here.
To check out Enney’s platform,click here.
The deadline to vote in this special election is April 18, 2023.
You can vote by mail, in person, or at a ballot drop-off location within the district. To find a drop-off location, click here.