Traverse City Record-Eagle

Region

March 6, 2014

TCAPS cancels special board meeting

TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Area Public Schools officials canceled a special meeting about the district's long-standing election law violation.

Board members planned to meet with the district’s attorney Friday in a closed session to discuss a conciliation agreement proposed by Michigan Secretary of State officials that would require someone to repay the roughly $25,600 TCAPS officials spent on illegal campaign fliers during the district's failed 2012 bond campaign.

District officials nixed the meeting today, the day after it was first announced.

TCAPS Superintendent Stephen Cousins said the district's legal counsel needed more time to look at materials from the election law violation investigation.

"Having a meeting to discuss it was premature,” Cousins said this afternoon. “It’s a better decision to give it more time.”

Secretary of State officials sent Robert Dietzel, an attorney from the East Lansing-based Thrun Law Firm who represents TCAPS, a letter outlining their investigation findings and a copy of the proposed conciliation agreement Feb. 24.

"We’re still exploring what the letter means, and what the next steps are, and what their legal options are," Dietzel said.

Cousins did not know when the meeting will be rescheduled.

The school board will hold a regular meeting on Monday, but the election law violation is not on the agenda, Cousins said.

TCAPS officials must decide by May 30 whether to accept the ruling and prove reimbursement of the roughly $25,600, which cannot come from the district's general fund or other taxpayer-supported funds. If TCAPS officials refuse to pay, the case could be referred to the state attorney general's office for criminal prosecution.

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