The trouble started when District 51 school board president Andrea Haitz issued a mass email to potential voters endorsing her husband Greg Haitz and soliciting funds for his Grand Junction city council campaign using her official title as school board president.
In the email, Haitz appears to lay out possible political bias and an agenda saying “a few years ago, our school board had a progressive majority. Fortunately, we fought back.” And “they elected me along with two other conservatives.” The email targets what she calls “the left.”
Haitz’s email goes on to clearly solicit money for her husband’s campaign.
Andrea signs off identifying herself as a mom, and real estate agent and expressly identifies her position as school board president.
Haitz’s email appears to break two rules on the D-51 school board member code of ethics: first her endorsement of conservative politics and public criticism of what she calls the “left” and second a clear solicitation for campaign funds to benefit her husband’s council race.
D-51’s code of ethics appears to mandate that school board members “avoid being placed in a position of conflict of interest” and seems to demand they do not use their position as a board member quote “for personal or partisan gain.”
The manner in which Haitz went about issuing the email also may violate the agreement to “take no private action that will compromise the board or administration.”
We asked Haitz for a response. She emailed KREX a statement characterizing the entire email as quote an “oversight.” Haitz admits the error is hers to quote “own and correct” she goes on to write it was “inadvertent”.
Haitz’s statement to KREX says the email was written in February and that the error was quote, “caught and corrected.”
Recipients tell KREX Haitz already sent that mass email to her husband’s campaign email list February 15 at 8 am.
It’s unclear when she sent the revised letter which removes her request for donations and position as school board president but reinforces her husband’s conservative stance and endorsements.
The next question is what repercussions the school board president may face if the D-51 legal counsel finds she violated board ethics, and whether D-51 will enforce its stated ethics rules going forward? Former local teachers association president and negotiator, Darren Cook tells KREX school board positions are nonpartisan by law.
Here is the statement from Andrea Haitz:
In February, I drafted an email that included a reference in the signature line to my position on the board. It was an oversight on my part. The error was caught and corrected. A new letter was drafted, which did not contain the signature line. I have attached the letter for your review. The error was inadvertent, but mine to own and correct. I was not speaking on behalf of District 51 or the board when I drafted the email or the letter.
Note: There was no time stamp on the letters.