Why Is This School Board Campaign Mailer Getting So Much Attention In Nashville?

The Metro Nashville Education Association political action committee sent out similar mailers on behalf of the candidates the union endorsed.

The Metro Nashville Education Association political action committee sent out similar mailers on behalf of the candidates the union endorsed.

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Middle Tennessee mailboxes are filling with campaign flyers for school board candidates. And one is getting extra scrutiny because it asks that voters re-elect someone who has never held office.

A mail piece from the Metro Nashville Education Association lauds the track record of Christiane Buggs and asks voters to keep her on the Metro school board. But the former teacher is running for an open seat in East Nashville.

MNEA president Erick Huth issued a statement and tells WPLN people have to trust that it was “an honest mistake.”

christiane_buggs_flyer

A similar flyer was sent out on behalf of Jill Speering, who is an incumbent seeking reelection. Christiane Buggs has not run before now.

“We had no intent to claim something that was untrue,” he says. “The mailer that went out was really intended for another candidate and there were some edits that should have been in there that were not.”

Two competitors in Buggs’ race — lawyer Miranda Christy and pharmacist Corey Gathings — signed a letter asking that the teachers union send out a corrected flyer explaining the misinformation. But the MNEA says it has no plans to do that.

“We have been waiting for you to publicly address this matter, but we have been shocked by your silence,” the letter to Buggs states.

Buggs issued a statement on her website with a touch of sarcasm:

I am saddened for my opponents they feel threatened by an error that is plain to every voter in our district. I can only surmise they think the voters of our district are too dumb to know the difference.

Parent Erica Lanier is also running in the crowded District 5 field.

It’s been a testy year thus far for school board races in Nashville. While there have been a number of personal flaps, the underlying fault lines seem to be over each candidate’s level of enthusiasm for charter schools.

This story was originally published on July 25, 2016.

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