Accusations fly in school board race | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Accusations fly in school board race

Sara Thompson

Even with the approaching election, campaign accusations aren’t slowing any for those running for three open Lake Tahoe Unified School District Board seats.

Four candidates are accused of violating California Education Code 7054, said Mike Patterson, vice president of the South Tahoe Educators Association. The code states no candidate may use services, supplies or equipment for campaign purposes.

Patterson said candidate Jill Sanders is accused of violating this code on Oct. 20 by placing campaign postcards in teacher mail boxes at Bijou Elementary School and the Environmental Science Magnet School.

Sanders said she received permission from the secretaries at the schools and did not know she was doing anything wrong. She said she went back to the schools and asked the secretaries to remove the remaining postcards, which was half of what she placed in the boxes.

Sanders said she is frustrated with the situation.

“I’m just a mom trying to volunteer and help out the school district,” Sanders said.

Steve Hayward, president of South Tahoe Educators Association, also accuses Sue Novasel and Barbara Bannar of campaign violations.

The teacher’s union is backing candidates Lauri Kemper and Larry Green.

Novasel and Bannar attended a new-teachers meeting in August, Hayward said. At the meeting, the incumbents told the teachers they were running and asked for their votes, he added.

Both Novasel and Bannar deny the accusation.

Novasel said she introduced herself as a board member and said she was going to run for office. She said in no way did she ask for a vote. Bannar said she also introduced herself, but did not mention that she was running for re-election. She said Novasel did not ask for votes.

Angie Keil, the school district spokeswoman, said she attended the meeting and said the incumbents did not campaign for their re-election in any way.

Superintendent Jim Tarwater attended the meeting as well and said Novasel and Bannar did not break regulations outlined in the code.

On an inservice day in August, Patterson accuses candidate Michael Doyle of violating the code. He said Doyle gave a speech to the South Lake Tahoe High School staff after meeting with the principal.

Doyle said he went to meet the principal to say hello. The introduction to the staff was an impromptu introduction to the staff, Doyle said, adding he’s familiar with the restrictions on campaigning and did not break those rules.

Tarwater said people do make mistakes, but not intentionally.

“You just have to watch it on school grounds,” Tarwater said.

Patterson said Doyle, Novasel and Bannar were sent letters from Langenkamp Attorneys, the firm that represents the teachers association, stating the need to adhere to the education code. Sanders has not been sent a letter yet, he said.

The letters were sent on Sept. 22, said Mary Ann Luckinbill, California Teachers Association staff consultant.

Doyle said he never received a letter.


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