Bond Communication Guidelines

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This presentation was used during the August 4, 2010 Georgetown ISD Administrative Retreat.

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Bond Communication Guidelines

  1. 1. Bond Communication Guidelines Brad Domitrovich, Director of School and Community Relations
  2. 2. Communication Overview ✤ 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 election. ✤ Until the election is called, full discussion and a certain amount of advocacy is allowable.
  3. 3. Texas Election Code ✤ An officer or employee of a school district may not spend or authorize the spending of public funds for any type political advertising. ✤ 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.
  4. 4. Political Advertising ✤ 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 sticker ✤ written communications ✤ email or on an website
  5. 5. 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.
  6. 6. 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 children.
  7. 7. 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 favor. ✤ Show that you care about our kids. ✤ Help us help our children.
  8. 8. Even More Ethics No-No’s ✤ Best solution ✤ Fantastic ✤ State of the art ✤ Countless benefits ✤ Horrible shape ✤ We must do something
  9. 9. 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.
  10. 10. Just remember ... ✤ Any employee of the District can violate the Election Code, not just those in a position of leadership.
  11. 11. What are considered “district resources? ✤ 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 political advertising. ✤ It is not permissible to use the paid time of District employees to create or distribute political advertising.
  12. 12. 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
  13. 13. Some things to consider ...
  14. 14. Summary ✤ 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 factual information.
  15. 15. Questions?
  16. 16. Bond Communication Guidelines Brad Domitrovich, Director of School and Community Relations

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