A school board campaign in Delaware could be breaking the law and they are turning what should be a fair election into a disgrace. And how could a member of this campaign benefit should her ghost candidate win? And which legislator is foolishly endorsing a candidate that won’t serve if elected?
The school board election in Delaware will take place tomorrow. The most controversial this year is the Christina school board race. Two-term board member John Young is facing Katie Hegedus who announced she will not serve if elected. The Christina Board of Education would have to pick their own board member for the next year until an election could be held next May to publicly elect someone for the remaining four years of the five-year term. The campaign team for Katie Hegedus has resorted, in their eleventh hour of desperation, to a potential violation of Delaware campaign laws. This morning an email went out to Christina teachers from a woman named Claire O’Neal. It stated the following:
From: Claire O’Neal [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, May 12, 2019 1:06 PM
Subject: Why the CSD School Board election on 5/14 is so important
Hello, and happy Mother’s Day!
There’s a critical school board election this Tuesday 5/14 and your vote is needed.
While there is much that is being discussed about this election, ultimately the choice people have is this:
ONE YEAR of having Katie’s seat filled by a qualified person interested in serving and approved by the board, with the understanding that the seat will be up for re-election next May along with other board positions;
FIVE YEARS of John Young, who:
*Has publicly stated his mission to bankrupt the Christina School District in the next school year;
*Voted to cut AP course offerings from CSD high schools;
*Voted ’no’ for the referendum;
*Has voted ’no’ on practically every issue that comes before the school board;
*Has lost the support of teachers and building principals who are working hard to bring energy and community trust back to the schools.
For me, this is a simple choice. I hope you will join me in voting for Katie on Tuesday. I also hope you will share information with your friends and neighbors to get out the vote (see below for a link to a Newark Post article with information about this election). Unfortunately, so few people tend to vote in school board elections. Let’s make this one count for change in our district.
Proud mom of two CSD students
CSD Property owner and taxpayer
If you do not wish to receive emails for this campaign, please unsubscribe here
Who in the world is Claire O’Neal and what the heck is Votercircle? Is using an organization like Votercircle to send emails to state issued emails a violation of Delaware election law? Some say no. Is has to do with how much money was spent using that. Votercircle has a free service but some are paid for. Unless Claire O’Neal publicly states what she did and how she did it (as well as how she obtained state emails) it is hard to tell at this point. If it was, indeed, legal, I still think it is a shady campaign thing to do. Teachers have enough on their plate without getting unsolicited campaign emails for a school board race.
Hegedus’ opponent, John Young, found the following and replied publicly to this outrageous stunt:
Folks, this was inevitable…my opponent’s surrogates have begun a massive disinformation campaign in support of their morally bankrupt operation to unseat me with the following email of lies, insinuations, and implications.
For the record:
I never supported the elimination of AP, just their UNPROVEN efficacy as it relates to EXPANSION.
Lie #2: I have NEVER stated my feeling with regards to the district going bankrupt as a mission, ever.
Lie #3: I have voted yes on EVERY single measure that is good for students, not “no on practically every issue” as stated here.
Lie #4: I have lost the support of teachers and building principals. This is simply untrue. No one can say they have all or none when it comes to support, but this is just made up out of thin air.
No one signed up for these, they are being spammed with these, likely in violation of MULTIPLE Delaware Campaign regulations:
I am calling on my opponent, Katie Rosch Hegedus to publicly decry these tactics and follow Delaware campaign rules and to please direct the voting public to your required Certificate of Intention with the Department of Elections.
In the past week, State Representative Paul Baumbach publicly came out in support for Katie Hegedus in a very unusual Facebook post that caused many Democrats and Republicans alike to jump on the comment thread and blast the legislator for daring to support a candidate who won’t even serve if elected.
The main support behind the Hegedus Campaign appears to be a small group of parents in the Christina School District who go under the banner of “Friends of Christina”. Led by parent Eve Buckley, the group was hell-bent on the April 30th Christina referendum passing. Of course, the referendum failed, so the group decided to make Christina board member John Young the sole reason it didn’t pass. Ironically, rumors are getting very heavy that Buckley would be the designated choice to sit on the Christina board for a year should Hegedus win the election. Buckley and her minions with Friends of Christina used Hegedus when she decided she wouldn’t be able to serve. Instead of doing the right thing and dropped out, the Friends of Christina group used Hegedus as their pawn to keep the campaign going in their very bizarre attempt to take down John Young.
These are the things that really bother me about this crazy stunt:
1) John Young is an excellent board member who shakes the tree. He questions things and does not believe the status quo is good for kids. Aside from debating with the district he will also take on the state whenever possible. Far too many in the education power structure do not like anyone questioning anything. Which explains Baumbach’s loathing of Young.
2) The very idea of someone running for an election but not serving makes about as much sense as whoever thought New Coke was going to be the next big thing. While I certainly feel for Hegedus’ family issues which caused her not to serve if elected, I am quite surprised her alleged friends would capitalize on her severe misfortune to take advantage of the situation. Especially when the ringleader could have a substantial benefit if Hegedus wins.
3) Paul Baumbach needs to stay in his own lane. When members of his own party and inner circle in his representative district are telling him he is wrong on this issue and he flat-out ignores them, he appears to be capitulating to a very small group of people in his district and isn’t willing to listen to his own constituents who are telling him “This is wrong Paul!”
4) Eve Buckley. I’ve known Eve since I began blogging five years ago. She is a very smart and intelligent woman. We have stood on the same side of many issues. I have heard her criticisms of John Young and while I don’t agree with them, I will listen. But she is better than this. She knows exactly what she is doing and just plain doesn’t care. She doesn’t care about this costing Delaware taxpayers not just for one election, but should Hegedus win, two elections. She and her cohorts seem to think one board member can defile a school district. But she is wrong. It is four. And they are also the ones who serve as rubber-stamps for a district that needs a ton of push-back from the forces that govern them.
5) Had Hegedus agreed to drop out when she announced she wouldn’t serve I would be okay with this. Had she decided to serve if elected I wouldn’t care. It is fair game at that point. But when Young’s biggest fans AND those who don’t agree with him unite to cry foul on this election stunt it is time for our legislators to stand up and take notice.
6) John Young is the voice of the students and teachers in Christina. Last week, at their special board meeting to essentially fire 63 teachers, an administrator named Donald Patton went after district leadership. Board President Meredith Griffin attempted to stifle Patton during his public comment. The only board member that stopped Griffin was John Young. Some people are okay with things staying quiet and hidden. Not John Young. Which is why he will ALWAYS get my support no matter who runs against him. For the record, Young did not vote yes for the teacher terminations and the contract non-renewals. He did not say he wants the district to go bankrupt. He wants the state to finally fund education the way they should.
7) The way Baumbach is NOT speaking the truth and validating the Hegedus campaign with his almighty bluster and false bravado regarding Young’s comments about forcing the district into recovery. As Kilroy’s Slower Lower Delaware pointed out on the Baumbach thread:
…public districts don’t declare bankruptcy as they are state entities. The district would be forced into State Finical Recovery whereas DEDOE would come in with a Financial Recovery Team and take charge of school finances. Also they would be required to give the district a loan. Paul Baumbach knows how it works. He fear(s) if a school district in his Rep district was taken over by the state he would be obligate(d) to address the school funding crisis that is going on state wide.
As usual, Kilroy nails it! So tomorrow, if you live in the Christina School District, vote for John Young for the District “D” school board seat. Don’t be suckered by the Friends of Christina and Paul Baumbach into voting for a ghost. Christina doesn’t need cheerleaders. They need change. And that change will only come about when they get a majority of good board members. They have a few now with John Young, Liz Paige, and Angela Mitchell. But since the board has seven members, they need a super majority of the “good guys” before true change can take place. That won’t happen when the district leadership, Friends of Christina, and legislators like Baumbach try to neuter the “good guys”. And if you think this doesn’t affect Delaware, you are wrong. What happens in Christina tends to lead the way in terms of education policy and legislation.
Updated: I reached out to Claire O’Neal to find out how she got a list of state emails for all these teachers. She has yet to respond.