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Melaleuca ad creates controversy with Sugar-Salem School District

An full-page ad in a local paper taken out by Melaleuca in favor of Propositions 1, 2 and 3 listed Sugar-Salem School District is listed as one of the supporters. But the school district said it has taken no position. The school district sent Local News 8 an email stating it did not claim a position.

The email states:

November 5, 2012
Dear Sugar Salem School District Patrons,
It has come to my attention that in Saturday’s issue of at least one of our local newspapers there was an advertisement posted by Melaleuca in favor of Propositions 1, 2, and 3 wherein Sugar Salem School District was listed as a supporter.
After seeing this advertisement I felt it was necessary to respond, letting our patrons know that our district was listed in error.
Listing the entire school district as a supporter implies that our school board has officially supported the propositions and that staff, and possibly patrons and students, also support them.
This is an error on the part of Melaleuca. Whether or not any of our individual school board members support these propositions is irrelevant as they have not, as an official body, passed a specific motion in favor or against them. I, also, did not approve their use of our district name.
I am also aware that there are staff members, as well as patrons and students, who are not in support of the propositions, making the use of our district title inappropriate for them as well.
It is the general rule of our board not to express a public opinion about political issues that divide the community and for which they see both positive and negative consequences.
Please know that our board members do not wish to influence you as you review the information and make a decision on which way to vote in this imminent election.

Alan V. Dunn
Superintendent of Schools
Sugar-Salem School District

Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot told Local News 8 in an interview that he responded to the email from the school district by asking his public relations team how that information was obtained. Tony Lima, public relations manager for Melaleuca, said he had just gotten off the phone with State Superintendent Tom Luna’s office and acknowledged the mistake. Dunn is a supporter of Props 1,2,3 but the school district is not.

VanderSloot responded, “Maybe we need to correct that.”

Dunn said in a statement “I will vote yes, but I still have concerns about many aspects of the propositions. That is my personal point of view and doesn’t represent the Sugar-Salem School Board or any group in my school district.”

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