Taxpayer group: AISD violated election rules in run up to bond vote

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Blackshear School - Austin Independent School District

A group opposing the upcoming Austin Independent School District bond said they’ve filed a complaint against the school district, saying that school brass violated election laws in the run-up to the vote on its $1 billion bond package.

Officials with the Travis County Taxpayers Union filed the complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission saying that AISD improperly used public money to promote the bond.

From KVUE:

In particular, they point to four incidents in their complaint…

TCTU stated a letter from Davis Elementary School, pro-bond stickers sent to parents from Casis Elementary School, an e-mail to parents of former AISD students from Superintendent Paul Cruz from an AISD e-mail address, and an unsigned letter by an AISD employee violated the Texas Election code.

“We don’t expect (this investigation) would be completed before election day,” added Borgelt.

AISD declined to speak on camera, but Ylise Janssen, the district’s general counsel, provided this statement in response to the allegations:

“While we have not yet seen the complaint, the Austin Independent School District believes that an educated voter is the best voter and only provides factual information relating to the bond election. The district’s hope is that the public will utilize the information when making an informed decision at the ballot box.”

Voters will decide on the bond Nov. 7. Early voting began Oct. 23.

For $1,050,984,000, AISD “would bring 21st-century learning spaces to students without increasing our tax rate,” according to district officials.

This bond is designed to modernize or construct 16 new campus facilities, some of which will be replacement schools. It is also planned to update campuses with capital improvement projects.

The AISD Board of Trustees unanimously voted to ask taxpayers for the bond, but there have been strong voices against the project as well.

Trent Seibert can be reached at [email protected] or at 832-258-6119.

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Trent is an award-winning editor and reporter, who has previously worked The Denver Post, The (Nashville) Tennessean, and the San Diego Union-Tribune. Most recently, he was the investigative producer for Houston’s KTRK-TV ABC-13. He was also the editor and founder of Texas Watchdog, a ground-breaking news group that paved the way for this project. Trent is a teacher of journalism skills, and has shown hundreds of reporters and citizen-journalists how to use public records, databases and journalism tools to keep a watchful eye on their own local government.

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