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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Stealth elections under fire as concerned residents banned from DB-TC schools


By Kimberly James | Feb 18, 2020

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A stealth election on last year's August ballot that resulted in approval for a $4.7 million school bond still has some Dollar Bay-Tamarack City residents up in arms, two in particular who have behaved in a manner that resulted in their being banned from the school building.

Dollar Bay-Tamarack City School District Superintendent-Principal Christina Norland filed a limited no-trespass directive against Cindy Barth, 72, and Kristin Lortie, 48. The women are allowed on school property if they request permission three days ahead of the day they want to visit. They may enter the building to vote on Election Day, but they must stay in the polling area and leave immediately after they've voted. They are also allowed in the building for school board meetings, but are only allowed to be present 15 minutes before the meeting through its duration. They must leave immediately when the meeting is over.

According to Michigan Capitol Confidential, Norland issued the directive in October after the women made several unscheduled visits to the school. The women didn't enter through the correct doors, didn't sign in at the office and wandered throughout student areas of the building without authorization or an escort.

“Unfortunately, KL and CB simply cannot be trusted to behave as other visitors do,” Norland told Michigan Capital Confidential. “KL and CB have not acknowledged posted signs or followed standard school protocols. Our families have expressed concern for their children based on behaviors witnessed by the community. Our employees have been treated rudely. KL and CB have demanded an incredible amount of time from school personnel, which takes time away from the students and staff and daily operations of DB-TC Area Schools.”

Barth and Lortie said their visits were to request public records related to the school district's proposed debt and spending. They said they were not asked to sign in or enter through a certain door. The pair claim that many in the community did not know about the bond proposal on last year's ballot; it passed with little over 25 percent voter turnout.

“Lack of accountability toward the community has been a pattern in [the  superintendent’s] communication and decisions,” Lortie said, as reported by Michigan Capitol Confidential.

The women have appealed the ban to the school board, but Norland has replied that there is no appeal process.

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Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area Schools

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