Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 21, 2012

Editorial: District mailer crossed line


---- — Traverse City Area Public Schools officials have some explaining to do.

A mailer recently sent out to voters about the district's $100 million bond request on the Nov. 6 ballot appears to have crossed the line by urging voters to "support the continuation of TCAPS' long-tem capital improvement plan by authorizing a bond proposal on Nov. 6, 2012.

Other district materials contain similar language.

The last we looked state law was clear that election-related material paid for with public money has to be strictly informational and not advocate a position. The fact that the district put the issue on the ballot is a form of advocacy, of course, but supporting materials cannot "ask" or "urge" voters to do anything but vote.

The district needs to clear the air on this issue and do it before the election. Who wrote that language and who authorized spending public money to lobby the public?

There are plenty of ways to inform without advocacy, and that's what is expected of the district.