Traverse City Record-Eagle

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April 19, 2013

TCAPS violated election laws

TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Area Public Schools officials violated election laws when they mailed voters a flyer that sought support for last fall's $100 million bond proposal, the Michigan Secretary of State ruled.

State law prohibits the use of public money to promote or denounce a ballot question.

The district spent roughly $20,000 to produce and mail glossy campaign literature in October. The flyers asked voters to support "the continuation of TCAPS' long-term capital infrastructure improvement plan by authorizing a bond proposal on Nov. 6, 2012."

Former Grand Traverse County Commissioner Jason Gillman brought the literature to the attention of the Secretary of State through a formal complaint.

"I feel vindicated," Gillman said of the April 18 SOS ruling, adding, "It's a win for the taxpayers."

TCAPS Superintendent Stephen Cousins reviewed the literature prior to its publication.

"As superintendent I take full responsibility for this issue," Cousins said, adding, "We did not intend to violate the act or mislead the public."

See Saturday's Record-Eagle for more on the SOS ruling.

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