The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, October 21, 1998, Page 3, Image 3

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    Board president urged to resign after ad i
By Josh Funk
Senior staff writer
Three state education organizations
called for the resignation of the presi
dent of the State Board of Education
The demand stems from Board
President Kathleen McCallister’s
appearance in a campaign ad support
ing Initiative 413, the proposed tax lid,
which the board voted to oppose 5-3.
The Nebraska State Education
Association, the Nebraska Association
of School Boards and the Nebraska
Council of School Administrators said
the ad was misleading because
McCallister identified herself as board
president in the ads, which could imply
she was speaking on behalf of the board.
Though McCallister does not say
she is speaking on behalf of the board in
the ad, she does not say she is speaking
individually, either.
McCallister called the demand
laughable and said she has no intention
of resigning or apologizing.
“I have a right to take a position on
any issue I want to,” she said.
The ad makes it appear McCallister
is speaking for the state board in favor of
the proposal, said Duane Obermier,
president of the Nebraska State
Education Association, the state’s main
“Kathleen McCallister has misled
the voters,” Obermier said.
State Board Vice President
Katherine Endacott said board mem
bers have a policy not to speak out in an
official capacity against board deci
sions, and she wants the ads to be
“This feels like a betrayal,”
Endacott said. “We just want to set the
record straight”
Brian Hale, spokesman for the
Nebraska Association of School
Boards, said new school board mem
bers are trained how to express their
individual opinions without misrepre
senting the board.
“We tell them they don’t lose their
right to expression, but they can’t walk
around town with their position on their
sleeve contradicting the board,” Hale
But McCallister said her title is part
of who she is.
“I was elected to represent the peo
ple, and I’m doing that,” she said.
McCallister is in the final months of
her term on die State Board and is run
ning for the Douglas County Board. She
joined die state board in 1994 and has
served as president since 1997.
Obermier raised the question of
whether the advertisement was a trade
off for campaign donations she received
from backers of die proposal.
McCallister said that accusation is
“Those people who contributed to
my race are people who have given to
me in the past,” she said.
According to campaign statements
filed with the state, McCallister
received $3,775 out of $20,470 from
individuals or businesses who support
Initiative 413.
The contributions included $1,000
from Kiewit Construction Co. of
Omaha, $250 from ConAgra of
Omaha, $1,050 from Omaha business
man David Sokol, $1,000 from Kenneth
Stinson, Kiewit chairman and $500
from Kiewit Construction Group Inc.
“It leaves a question in your mind
when you’ve got a person running for
another office in Douglas County and is
able to get so much air time,” said John
Bonaiuto, executive director of the
school board association
The Associated Press contributed
to this report
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