The state Attorney General’s Office has ordered top leaders of the Sunnyside Unified School District to undergo training on state election laws after it found the district violated statutes.
In addition to the Governing Board and Superintendent Manuel L. Isquierdo, the district’s principals, athletic department administration and its coaches must undergo training on the laws this month.
The findings are the result of an investigation by Assistant Attorney General Thomas M. Collins into several complaints, including that Sunnyside High School athletes were directed to canvass neighborhoods last fall, and pass out literature in support of bonds and a budget override in the November 2011 general election.
The violations are:
• Richard Sanchez, district athletic director, directed coaches to plan on attending a campaign meeting at the home of Louie Gonzales, then board president, and chastised coaches who did not attend.
• Glenn Posey, Sunnyside High varsity football coach, encouraged players to participate in activities in favor of the bond/override election campaign.
• Anthony Leon, Sunnyside High varsity wrestling coach, told students to participate in the bond/override election campaign.
• Campaign materials in favor of the bond/override were distributed by school personnel at Los Niños Elementary School and to students.
Sanchez, Posey and Leon submitted sworn statements admitting they negligently violated state laws. All three declined comment through Monique Soria, the district’s spokeswoman.
In a November Arizona Daily Star article, it was reported that student athletes were directed to pass out brochures in support of the bond election at the behest of Gonzales.
Read more of this story in Wednesday's Star.