GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Public Schools says a database error caused the district to send fliers for their upcoming bond proposal to people who do not live at the home where they were addressed.
The issue caused confusion for residents like Nancy and Mark Bouwman, who have lived in their home on the city’s northeast side for 48 years and reached out to FOX 17.
Mark says he noticed it when he got the mail last Friday. Two of the four mailers they received were for strangers.
‘Database error’ addresses GRPS fliers incorrectly
“I thought, ‘Well, maybe our mail carrier mistakenly gave us some fliers that belonged to one of our neighbors,’” said Mark. “When I looked more closely, all the addresses were our address, but two of the names on the fliers were not from around here. They’re people that we didn’t recognize, and we don’t know who they are.”
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Nancy added the feeling only grew when two of their neighbors and friends on the Westside told her it happened to them too.
“Each family got four [fliers] … and there were two correct voters and then two other names,” said Nancy.
John Helmholdt, president of Seyferth PR, told FOX 17 people received extra fliers because of an accident.
He said GRPS hired them for the project and in short, an Excel spreadsheet cell deleted the wrong way when someone tried to merge multiple mailing lists.
“We notified GRPS of our database error associated with a mailing that our firm was managing tied to the zero-tax-rate-increase bond proposal for GRPS students,” Helmholdt said in a statement to FOX 17. “The database error caused some households to receive more than one mailer addressed to a name not associated with the address. SeyferthPR takes full responsibility for the duplication of some mailers and will be absorbing any costs related to this situation. The error has been fixed for future communications.”
Nancy and Mark hope it doesn’t happen again.
“These fliers were not about re-roofing your home or putting new siding on,” said Mark. “These fliers are about an election. It’s a special election for the bond issue and it seems like everything would be correct as they reach out to the public of Grand Rapids to try to get their goal, renewal of the bond.”
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