Locals file petition to oust Paso Robles School Board member
New special election could cost school district $493,000
– A group of locals opposed to a school board member recently filed a petition with the County of San Luis Obispo that could force him out and require a special election.
In October, the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees appointed Kenneth E. Enney Jr. to serve as a trustee following the departure of Trustee Chris Bausch. Bausch resigned from the school board in August to be appointed to the Paso Robles City Council.
Enney, a rancher and retired Marine Corps intelligence officer, was appointed on a 4-2 vote. He was set to fill the seat through 2024.
That could all change now.
On Nov. 11, a petition with about 800 signatures was submitted to the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education.
“The proponents of this petition as named herewith are registered voters of [the Paso Robles School District] and are petitioning the appointment of Kenneth Enney who was sworn in on October 11, 2022, and are requesting a special election to fill the vacancy,” the petition reads.
County Superintendent Jim Brescia confirms he received the petition and delivered it to the San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder’s office for validation of signatures. The county has until Dec. 9 to complete the validation.
If 455 signatures are deemed valid, Enney will be removed from his seat and a special election will be held in March.
The election is expected to cost the local school district $493,000, according to the county.
Carey Alvord of Paso Robles organized the petition drive. She said it “was truly a community effort because many of us are tired of divisive rhetoric.”
“This board continued to make decisions around national identity politics rather on what’s best for our local community,” she said.
Alvord, supervisor of Homeless & Foster Services at the school district, said she and other organizers met supporters at local coffee houses. “Not only did people want to sign, they wanted to collect signatures,” she said. “So they did, and in a few days we had around 800 signatures.”
Paso Robles Public Educators Executive Director Jim Lynett said the teachers union did not take an official position on the petition, though it was supported by teachers. “I know many teachers who signed the petition to support democracy as I myself did,” he said. “This was the second appointment in a relatively short period of time and I know many teachers who feel as I do that the voters of the district should decide who fills the seat, not lame-duck school board members.”
The Republican Party of San Luis Obispo County opposes the move to unseat Enney.
“Newly appointed Kenney Enney is being railroaded off the Paso Robles School Board by liberal progressive Democrats,” read a statement from the party written by Gary Lehrer.
“They are demanding a costly special election at the expense of students,” it says. “Don’t let this happen! Kenney wants to defend our students, stand up for parental rights and stress academics over indoctrination.
“He is extremely qualified for the board and worked to protect our freedom. Instead of thanking him for wanting to serve on the board a small group of activists is working to purge him because he is dedicated to academics and opposes exposing our children to harmful materials.”
Enney did not reply to a request for comment by press time.