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Legal challenge seeks to invalidate $889M in school bond measures, targets ballot labels

A hearing for the election contest is scheduled for April 18.

A legal challenge filed in the Superior Court of San Mateo County asserts that the ballot labels for two local school district bonds totaling $889.5 million recently approved by voters misled voters and did not comply with the law. 

Christopher Robell, a retired CFO, is the individual behind the challenge against Mark Church, the County’s chief elections officer. Robell, in his election contest, claims that Church did not reject the 75-word ballot labels, which he called “misleading.” John Nibbelin, the county attorney, said he was reviewing the case and declined to comment further.

Measure S, a $298 million bond for the Redwood City Elementary School District, and Measure W, a $591.5 million bond for the Sequoia Union High School District, which both passed with overwhelming voter support, are the suit's focus. 

This isn’t the first time Robell accused the Redwood City School District of misleading voters with its ballot label. 

In August 2022, Robell took issue with what he called imprecise language on the ballot label and argued the district should either remove the phrase “no money for administrators” entirely or include the words “teachers’ salaries or academic programs” after the word administrators to make it clear that the funds cannot be used for these items. 

Ultimately, the district opted to keep the language

A hearing for the election contest is scheduled for April 18.


Michelle Iracheta

About the Author: Michelle Iracheta

Michelle Iracheta is the editor at the Redwood City Pulse. Her work has appeared in the Houston Chronicle, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, The Seattle Times and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. She enjoys spending time with her mini doodle, Kooper.
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