Three out of four issues that a taxpayer advocacy group filed with the Texas Ethics Commission against the Austin Independent School District have been tossed out by commission officials, just before the polls open for voters to consider the district’s $1.1 billion bond package.
The Travis County Taxpayers Union filed the complaint, saying that AISD improperly used public money to promote the bond.
Under state law, school districts cannot use tax dollars to promote a bond. They are, however, allowed to provide factual information about bond elections using tax dollars.
From the Austin American-Statesman:
In its complaint, the group says flyers, stickers, letters and emails sent to parents or community members did not contain a disclaimer required by Texas election law, and that the materials amount to illegal lobbying by the district. They also alleged the district has used public funds and resources to advocate for the bond.
The commission said the allegations related to three of the four exhibits would not be considered because “the complaint does not state, on its face, an allegation that, if true, constitutes violation.” The commission also said there wasn’t evidence to indicate the district authorized, approved or caused to be published the communication in the examples provided by the group.
The commission has not weighed in on a fourth exhibit, an email from Superintendent Paul Cruz to former parents and community members.
Election Day is today.
Trent Seibert can be reached at [email protected] or at 832-258-6119.