On Tuesday of last week, January 28, this blog published a story about Anaheim Union High School District resources were being used for a political campaign advocating passage of Measure B – the $398 million school bond placed on the March 3 ballot by the AUHSD Board of Education.
The precinct walks were being staged from all the high school campuses in the district. Walkers were being coordinated by the teachers union representatives at each school site.
This blog contacted both the AUHSD and the Anaheim Secondary Teachers Association about the union’s involvement and the use of school property for political campaign activities.
ASTA President Grant Schuster responded within a few hours, and are included in last week’s article.
The AUHSD took eight days to respond to questions. – e-mailing replies barely two hours before the precinct walk started.
We sent an e-mail to district Public Information Officer John Bautista on January 28 asking “some questions about the use of government property for electioneering purposes” and noting that Article 2, Section 7054 (a) of the California Education Code states “No school district or community college district funds, services, supplies, or equipment shall be used for the purpose of urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure or candidate, including, but not limited to, any candidate for election to the governing board of the district.”
We further noted that according to the Measure B campaign’s flyer, school district resources are being used to organize and stage the precinct walk.
More than a week later – about two hours before the precinct walks were set to begin – we recieved an email from Bautista with response to “some” of our questions:
Did the AUHSD give ASTA permission to use its high school campuses to stage this campaign precinct walk?
The precinct walks are being sponsored by Yes on Measure B organization. ASTA’s logo was on the flyer as they endorse the walks.
Will participating ASTA members be allowed to use their teaching positions to recruit students to participate in the precinct walk?
Does the AUSHD have a policy governing the use of district facilities such as school campuses to conduct political election campaigns?
The District has a Facility Use Board Policy.
Does the AUHSD consider it legal and/or appropriate to allow ASTA and Measure B proponents to use AUHSD resources to advocate FOR Measure B?
Does the AUSHD believe allowing the use of district property for this precinct walk is consistent with the requirements of the state education code?
AUHSD complies with all legal requirements.
Let’s leave aside the question of why it took the district more more than a week to furnish these tight-tipped replies.
The AUHSD’s answers acknowledge that A) a political campaign committee is using its facilities for campaign electioneering purposes and B) that such activity is illegal and/or inappropriate. Yet, not only did the AUHSD fail to act, but then claims it is following the law!
And so the illegal use of AUHSD facilities for campaign purposes went right ahead. Here is Renae Bryant, the district’s politically active director of English Learner & Multilingual Services, posting about the Yes on Measure B walk staged at Western High School:
Let’s double back to the involvement of ASTA. In our previous story, ASTA President Grant Schuster said that while his union supports Measure B, it has no involvement in the campaign.
And yet, ASTA’s fingerprints are all over this Yes on Measure B campaign event:
According to ASTA’s own social media, yesterday’s school site-based campaign precinct walk looks an ASTA-organized event.
The AUHSD agrees it is illegal to use district facilities, and yet ASTA posts photos of its members doing exactly that:
The AUHSD said ASTA members would not be allowed to recruit students to participate in yesterday’s campaign precinct walk, and yet here are students with ASTA members at the precinct walk staged from Anaheim High School:
Anaheim Blog will continue looking into this matter, and report back when we’re able to get straight answers from the AUHSD and ASTA.