Superintendent fined over two election emails
Beaverton Superintendent Don Grotting has been fined by the Oregon Secretary of State's Office for allegedly advocating on behalf of a ballot measure while serving in his capacity as superintendent.
The fine for the civil penalty was $225.
Grotting sent two emails late last year in regard to Measure 101, which went to voters in January of this year and increased the number of Oregonians eligible for health care coverage.
In a Dec. 18 email to school district employees, Grotting wrote that the health provider tax "would impact our K-12 funding between 200-400 million dollars."
In a Dec. 20 email, he clarified the message, saying Measure 101 would affect public school funding throughout the state, not just the Beaverton School District.
A resident sent the emails to the Secretary of State's office, claiming Grotting was advocating for a "yes" vote.
Oregon law says public employees, while on the job, may inform people about issues on the ballot but may not advocate for or against issues.
The Secretary of State's Office agreed with the complainant and issued the fine.
Grotting sent the following message to The Times:
"On January 23, 2018, the Oregon Elections Division received a complaint regarding email communication I sent to Beaverton School District staff about Measure 101, and its possible financial impact to K-12 funding and our District. The Elections Division determined the communication constituted political advocacy because it did not include a balance of information. They deemed the communication to be persuasive. I was offered the opportunity to pay a personal civil fine of $225 or proceed to a hearing. I decided to pay the civil penalty and was notified by the Oregon Elections Division on Aug. 24 that my payment had been received on Aug. 16, and the matter was considered closed."