Bond Communication Guidelines
Brad Domitrovich, Director of School and Community Relations
✤ The information presented here will help us as
we prepare for the upcoming Bond Election on
November 2, 2010.
✤ The information only applies to the time after
the Board of Trustees officially calls the bond
✤ Until the election is called, full discussion and a
certain amount of advocacy is allowable.
Texas Election Code
✤ An officer or employee of a school district may not spend
or authorize the spending of public funds for any type
✤ The Election Code does not apply to any communications
that factually describe the purpose of a measure as long
as the communication does not advocate passage or
defeat of the election.
✤ A person who violates the code commits an offense
which is considered a Class A Misdemeanor.
✤ Political Advertising is a communication that
advocates a particular outcome in an election and
includes statements made in writing or orally.
✤ newspaper, magazine, or other periodical
✤ broadcast by radio or television
✤ appears in a pamphlet, circular, flyer, billboard, sign, bumper
✤ written communications
✤ email or on an website
What is advocacy?
✤ A lot of school district employees and officers
have violated the bond ethics laws by engaging
in communication that is considered advocacy.
✤ Asking for support or rejection of a bond
election is advocacy.
✤ Using statements such as "Vote For X" and
"Defeat Y" is also advocacy.
Some Ethics No-No’s
✤ It is very important for your children and the
school district that we approve this bond.
✤ I am confident that you will research and
make the right choice.
✤ The future of our school lies in your hand.
✤ This bond is the right thing to do for our
More Ethics No-No’s
✤ Please support our vision.
✤ Although I cannot formally endorse the bond,
there is a choice that many of our leaders
✤ Show that you care about our kids.
✤ Help us help our children.
Even More Ethics No-No’s
✤ Best solution
✤ State of the art
✤ Countless benefits
✤ Horrible shape
✤ We must do something
Complaints and Violations
✤ Any individual may file a sworn complaint with
the Texas Ethics Commission alleging a violation
of certain laws.
✤ To start the process, a sworn complaint must be
filed on a form prescribed by the Commission.
✤ The Commission is authorized to undertake civil
enforcement actions, hold enforcement hearings,
issue orders, impose civil penalties and refer
matters for criminal prosecution.
Just remember ...
✤ Any employee of the District
can violate the Election Code,
not just those in a position of
What are considered
✤ District resources include use of the telephone,
computers, copiers, facilities, etc.
✤ The District may not purchase or authorize the
purchase of new materials or use existing
materials for use in creating or distributing
✤ It is not permissible to use the paid time of District
employees to create or distribute political
What can the district do?
✤ The District is to provide factual information.
✤ Proposed projects and costs
✤ Voting times and locations
✤ Growth rate/enrollment trends
✤ Performance data
✤ Student capacity
✤ Age and condition of buildings
✤ Tax Rate effects
✤ Until a bond election is called by the Board of
Trustees, officers and employees of the district
may discuss and utilize a certain amount of
advocacy regarding a bond election.
✤ Once a bond election is called, officers and
employees of the district may only disseminate