Sunday, 03 November 2013 11:54

School Principal Did Not Endorse Rice

By Staff Report | News

WILTON -- Even though Wilton councilman Robert Rice issued campaign materials that made it appear he had the endorsement of Stuart Byrne, principal of Maple Avenue Middle School, which prompted the Saratoga Springs City School District to issue a public statement over the weekend denouncing the endorsement, Rice issued his own on Monday noting that it was not meant to be misleading. 

 "On October 8th my campaign received a statement of support from Stuart Byrne, a friend and fellow Rotarian for the past 11 years. The statement was to be used on my campaign website, but also was used on some promotional advertisements. We were unaware at the time of publication that it was against Saratoga Springs City School District policy to use an employee's title or position in a quote for a political campaign. At no time did my campaign intentionally mislead voters. I am proud to add Mr. Byrne's statement to those of the many Wilton residents who support me, and in no way meant for it to appear as an endorsement from the school district," wrote Rice. 

On Sunday, the school district released the following statement: "It has recently come to the attention of the Saratoga Springs City School District that Bob Rice, a candidate for the Wilton Town Board, issued some campaign materials in which a quote of endorsement is attributed to Stuart Byrne, principal of the Maple Avenue Middle School. It is against school district policy for the district and any of its employees, acting in their official capacities, to engage in any partisan political activities, according to Superintendent Michael Piccirillo. The district has been informed by Mr. Byrne that the quote attributed to him by the Rice campaign in his capacity as middle school principal was issued without his authorization, Mr. Piccirillo said.

“We are issuing this statement at this time simply to insure that no one has the impression that the school district or Mr. Byrne, in his capacity as middle school principal, has taken any position in favor of or against the election involving Mr. Rice," Mr. Piccirillo said.

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