Sylvania Schools contradict an Ohio Attorney General opinion and the Ohio Revised Code with Web link

Update 5/9: Sylvania's own district policies prohibit linking to a levy Web site. See: http://www.neola.com/sylvania-oh/search/policies/po7540.02.htm

Under no circumstances is a web site to be used for commercial purposes advertising, political lobbying or to provide financial gains for any individual. Included in this prohibition is the fact no web pages contained on the District’s web site may: (1) include statements or other items that support or oppose a candidate for public office, the investigation, prosecution or recall of a public official, or passage of a tax levy or bond issue; (2) link to a web site of another organization if the other web site includes such a message; or (3) communicate information that supports or opposes any labor organization or any action by, on behalf of, or against any labor organization.

Update 5/2: Sylvania Schools Superintendent Dr. Brad Reiger sent the following: No, we do not encourage district email accts be used for levy recruitment. We clarified with our Admin Team & staff members that personal email accts are to used. Also, you are correct that the levy website shouldn't be linked to the district website. Thank you for pointing this out. We have removed the levy website link. We'll do better with this moving forward.

5/1/2014 - original story:
2 days ago I wrote about the Sylvania School employees organizing pro-levy campaign volunteers using school resources which clearly violates the Ohio Revised code. Today, I will move a step higher and tell how the Sylvania Schools are violating an Ohio Attorney General opinion and the Ohio Revised Code by including a link to the pro levy site campaign site on the district Web site.

Here is a picture of the Sylvania Schools Web site as of today 5:15 p.m.

You would think it would be normal for a school district to post a link to a Web site that contains information on the levy and encouraging you to vote yes. Well, you may think it is right, but it is actually not allowed according to the Ohio Attorney General and the Ohio Revised Code.

In 2002, David L. Landefeld, the Fairfield County Prosecuting Attorney, asked for an opinion about this exact issue regarding a Township Web site containing a link to a pro-levy campaign site and the Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery said the following:

2. A board of township trustees is prohibited by R.C. 9.03(C)(1)(e) and (2) from using public funds to support or oppose a candidate for public office, the investigation, prosecution, or recall of a public official, or a levy or bond issue, and from compensating a township employee for time spent on any activity to influence the outcome of an election for any of these purposes. Therefore, a township is prohibited by R.C. 9.03(C)(1)(e) and (2) from compensating township employees or otherwise using public funds to include on its web site a link to the web site of another organization if that organization’s web site advocates the support or defeat of a candidate, recall effort, or levy or bond issue.

3. A board of township trustees is not permitted to expend public funds in order to include on the township web site a link or other information concerning matters that do not fall within the statutory authority of the township.

This clearly can be applied to the link on the Sylvania Schools site. We have another case of the Sylvania Schools paying someone on the clock to campaign for the levy. The problem with this whole case is I am not the expert - I should not be the one finding these issues. This is either incompetence or laziness, both of which reflect bad on the district and makes one wonder if they can be trusted with more money.

Full opinion below:

Ohio Attorney General Opinion 2002-001 about posting link to levy campaign site on governmental site

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No votes yet

I wonder if One of City's Greatest Newspapers would be interested in covering this.

Patience is a great virtue.

I think someone from the Sylvania BOE must be reading SwampBubbles because the offending link is conspicuously absent this morning.

I'm not surprised at this kind of behavior. These people have the scruples of a Detroit scrapyard manager and we'd be well rid of them.

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

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