Minnesota Voters Alliance files complaint against Anoka-Hennepin County School District
St. Paul, Minnesota, November 14, 2012—The Minnesota Voters Alliance announced today that the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) has issued a notice of prima facie violation against the Anoka-Hennepin County School District for its 2011 campaign in support of three ballot questions all aimed at bringing additional tax money into their control. The OAH finding is a result of the complaint filed against the school district by the Minnesota Voters Alliance on November 2, 2012.
The complaint brings to the forefront unresolved issues relating to school district campaigning, promoting the passage of a ballot initiative, and using taxpayers’ money for political purposes.
Specifically, the complaint alleges that the school district violated Minnesota Statutes 211A and 211B by using public funds to promote the views of advocates of the levy while suppressing the arguments of the opposition. This complaint is the first of its kind and provides the courts with an important opportunity to define the limits on all Minnesota school boards who might seek to cross the line between the proper presentation of a full set of facts and the illegal distribution of biased advocacy.
Andy Cilek, Executive Director of the Minnesota Voters Alliance is outraged, saying that, "The Anoka-Hennepin School District's violation of the statutes is particularly egregious and willful as can be seen by the fact that they included absolutely no information about the benefits of voting 'no,' and not one word about any drawbacks of voting 'yes' on the new funding. And then, they thought they could cover themselves by placing a statement on the back of the brochure saying the piece was not 'promotional.'"
A November 27 teleconference call has been ordered by the OAH for the purpose of scheduling a hearing on the matter.