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Local Petition Calls for Special Election

Local+Petition+Calls+for+Special+Election

After the PRJUSD Board of Trustees appointed Kenneth E. Enney Jr. to fill the spot of Chris Bausch following his resignation in August, local community members have successfully petitioned to remove him. 

Enney Appointed

Bausch’s resignation came after his appointment to the Paso Robles City Council, where he now serves as the district two representative. A group of seven replacement candidates for his position were interviewed on October 4 in a special board meeting session. 

Then the original group of seven was narrowed to three: Melvin Parish, Sheila Kaye Page, and Kenneth E. Enney Jr. 

Enney, a retired Untied States Marine and Paso Robles district resident for a decade, was chosen from this group. Following this selection, the Board of Trustees appointed Enney on October 11 with a vote of 4-2, with Nathan Williams and Tim Gearhart voting no. 

The board’s decision drew significant community attention due mostly to controversial speech on social media by Enney, especially regarding the LGBTQIA+ community. In one Facebook post, he admitted to rejecting “the T,” which stands for transgender, and described the act of transitioning as “gender mutilation.”  

Kenneth Enney’s Facebook profile picture.

Petition Started

Carey Alvord, as seen on the PRJUSD website

Upon becoming aware of his appointment, Carey Alvord, Paso Robles resident and the supervisor of Homeless & Foster Services at PRJUSD, as well as a host of other concerned community members, organized a petition to request “a special election” in order to remove Enney from the board and then find a replacement candidate. 

Alvord and her supporters outlined their reasons for spearheading the petition clearly in a co-authored letter to the editor published in Paso Robles Daily News

The article stated that “we should let the voters in the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District decide who represents them” and went on to claim Enney’s “inflammatory rhetoric on social media distracts from the real challenges faced by our students.”

It ended with a description of the authors’ wishes for the future:

“Our hope is that we can all agree divisiveness and exclusion of any kind is not only wrong, but a bad example for our children as they grow into adults in a vibrant and diverse community and world.”

A force of opposition quickly formed due to the $473,000 cost of the special election, as well as a sense that Enney’s words were, ultimately, ‘not that bad.’

Despite this, the petition quickly gained support, getting around 800 signatures in a few days by Alvord’s estimate. Only 455 signatures were needed. 

The petition was given to Dr. Jim Brescia, County Superintendent, on November 11, one month after Enney’s appointing. He delivered it to the San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder’s office, where the signatures were validated. 

SPECIAL ELECTION upCOMING

The petition -and the removal of Enney as an appointed board member- were confirmed as valid at the December 13 board meeting to a sea of public comment from both the opposition and the agreement. 

A Paso Robles community member participating in public comment.

Another letter to the editor published Paso Robles Daily News by Joe Horne voiced some of the concerns of Enney’s supporters. 

“The estimated cost of $473,000 for this election will come out of school district reserve funds that could have been used for student education or employee raises,” he wrote. “The petitioners call Kenneth Enney an ‘extremist’ and yet hypocritically state they are against the politics of division.”

He stated a “woke agenda” as a part of the issue. 

The special election will take place in March 2023. Also at the December 13 board meeting, newly elected Jim Cogan, Laurene McCoy, Joel Peterson and Sondra Williams were appointed to the board. 

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About the Contributor
Kalani Gaviola
Kalani Gaviola, Editor-in-Chief
Kalani Gaviola, senior, is one of the Editor-in-Chiefs of Crimson Newsmagazine, as well as co-InDepth Director. This is her second year as Editor-in-Chief and InDepth Director, and her third year in Crimson. Outside of Crimson, she is a varsity Cross Country and Track athlete, ASB Staff and Student Director, and an enjoyer of creative writing, reading, and drawing.
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