W-E Schools and Campaigning Rules

We were asked to weigh in on issues  dealing with the Willoughby-Eastlake schools and what is permitted under the Ohio Revised Code dealing with campaigning for property tax levies. We would like to pass along what we have learned.

john q public image

Issues at hand:  Can a school district use their student database of emails and telephone numbers to promote a levy on the ballot?  Can a principal send emails to parents discussing how to get the next levy passed.

Lobbyists for Citizens sent a records request under ORC 149.43 (B) (1) to Mr. Steve Thompson, Superintendent of Willoughby-Eastlake schools asking for all correspondence between the W-E school district and the political action committee formed to support the property tax levy on the November 5, 2019 ballot.  W-E RECORDS REQUEST 11-19-19

Steve Thompson Superintendent


Mr. Thompson, to his credit, responded immediately and stated that he had no knowledge of records pertaining to the Political Action Committee.

LFC followed up with this question: “Would you have any knowledge about how the PAC is obtaining the telephone numbers and email addresses of the school children’s parents?  Citizens want to be sure that school databases are not just given to one group supporting the levy.  If you can assure us that this is not happening, we will be glad to report that for everyone to see, so that false statements do not spread throughout the community.”

Steve Thompson Superintendent
Mr. Thompson’ response: “At every meeting that is held by the levy committee, they collect phone numbers, email addresses, names and physical addresses.  They have been doing this for several years.”


So it appears to LFC that the PAC supporting the W-E school levies is an entrenched, well-oiled machine that is very committed to the school.   To answer the next question regarding  the principal sending emails to parents, we had to do some research.

Our local Elections Board stated that the question is out of their jurisdiction, and the State Elections Board may not be able to help either.  We then turned to the Internet and found this very informative website: https://www.bricker.com/insights-resources/publications/dos-and-donts-for-ballot-issue-campaigns-for-school-districts

There is a great deal of information on the website.  Here are a few excerpts that address our concerns:

(1) “…boards of education are prohibited from using “public funds to support or oppose the passage of a school levy or bond issue or to compensate any school district employee for time spent on any activity intended to influence the outcome of a school levy or bond issue election.”

(2)  “Criticisms about a district’s activity in support of a levy or ballot issue campaign are becoming increasingly more prevalent as anti-tax and other citizen groups become more organized.” (LFC Comment: Take note – the push-back on the non-sustainable, ever-increasing property taxes is starting all over Ohio.)

(3)  “School employees, administrators and board members have a First Amendment right to participate in the electoral process and in ballot issue campaigns. However, they must be very careful to keep all campaign–related activity off school property and segregated from any school time or resources. Districts should adopt and consistently enforce clear and neutral policies that regulate campaign activity by the district, its board and its employees.”

(4)  “Can we allow school employees to use district email to conduct school levy activity on their own time?

No. Use of district resources, even the minimal amount of resources involved when sending and/or receiving an email, is prohibited. The law does not create a minimum threshold or provide a de minimis standard below which use of district resources is permitted.”

(5)  “Can we send materials that are prepared by and paid for by the levy committee home to parents in student mail?

No. Doing so would be considered a use of school resources for the levy because it would require teachers and other staff to spend district time to sort and process the materials for distribution to students.”

(6)  “Can the district provide its mailing lists or contact lists to the levy committee?

Technically, yes, but we recommend caution. The district may sell its property, including mailing lists, as outlined above so long as the information being provided is public information. However, once the district sells a list to one party, it should do so for anyone else who asks. Employees or vendors may be upset by what they perceive as a violation of their privacy in this manner.”

(7)  “Can a school district prohibit employees from conveying their political views through discussion with students during work time?

Yes. This type of broad restriction on political speech or campaigning, not targeting a particularized message, is supported by case law that allows public employers to regulate a public employee’s speech if it is made pursuant to his or her official duties, provided the restrictions are supported by an adequate justification such as a legitimate pedagogical concern or a desire to maintain neutrality on controversial issues. It is important that a district enforce any policy on this topic uniformly and consistently.”

(LFC Comments: Regarding the principal sending emails to parents, it appears that is permitted as long as it is not done during school hours.   All teachers and coaches have first amendment rights to express support for the school levy, as long as it is not done during school business hours.

So what about the teachers that tell their students in the classroom to tell their parents to vote for the levy?  It seems to LFC that this is a violation of the Ohio Revised Code, and should stop immediately. We ask that all administrators stop this unfair, illegal action by the teachers, and coaches.)

Categories: Tax Levies, Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

54 replies

  1. 180641 316911I genuinely like your writing style, great data, appreciate it for posting : D. 3366

  2. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

  3. I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an impatience over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again as exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this increase.

  4. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this excellent blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will share this website with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  5. With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright violation? My website has a lot of unique content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my agreement. Do you know any ways to help protect against content from being ripped off? I’d certainly appreciate it.

  6. Sweet blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News. Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Cheers

  7. Hey there! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My blog looks weird when viewing from my apple iphone. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to resolve this issue. If you have any recommendations, please share. With thanks!

  8. Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back frequently!

  9. I really like what you guys are usually up too. This sort of clever work and exposure! Keep up the superb works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to blogroll.

  10. I believe this internet site has some really fantastic information for everyone. “To be able to be caught up into the world of thought — that is being educated.” by Edith Hamilton.

  11. I believe one of your commercials caused my web browser to resize, you may well want to put that on your blacklist.

  12. Hey there, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, great blog!

  13. Thanks for another magnificent article. Where else could anybody get that type of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information.

  14. Fantastic goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too excellent. I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it smart. I can not wait to read much more from you. This is really a terrific website.

  15. I love the beneficial info deal in your write-ups.

  16. This is very fascinating, You are an excessively professional blogger. I’ve joined your feed and look forward to in the hunt for more of your wonderful post. Additionally, I have shared your website in my social networks!

  17. You carry a precious inventiveness. Your writing competences are without a doubt great. Gratitudes for sending content on the net and educating your users.

  18. I not to mention my buddies happened to be analyzing the best information found on your web page and so the sudden got an awful suspicion I never expressed respect to the blog owner for those techniques. All the guys ended up certainly very interested to read through all of them and have clearly been having fun with those things. Appreciate your genuinely quite thoughtful and also for obtaining these kinds of awesome issues most people are really wanting to know about. My very own honest regret for not expressing appreciation to earlier.

  19. Greetings from Ohio! I’m bored at work so I decided to browse your website on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how quick your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, fantastic site!

  20. Hello, Neat post. There is an issue with your website in web explorer, would test this?K IE nonetheless is the market chief and a huge part of folks will leave out your excellent writing due to this problem.

  21. Hello.This article was extremely motivating, especially because I was searching for thoughts on this issue last couple of days.

  22. I’ve been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this site. Thanks , I抣l try and check back more often. How frequently you update your website?

  23. I am incessantly thought about this, thanks for putting up.

  24. You hold a fantastic capability. Your marketing competencies are literally fantastic. Kudos for providing web content on-line and enlightening your viewers.

  25. Hello.This article was really interesting, especially since I was searching for thoughts on this matter last Friday.

  26. You made some respectable factors there. I looked on the internet for the difficulty and found most people will associate with together with your website.

  27. Hello my friend! I wish to say that this article is awesome, nice written and include almost all significant infos. I would like to see more posts like this.

  28. This site is really a stroll-by means of for all the information you wanted about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and also you’ll definitely discover it.

  29. Wow, amazing blog format! How long have you ever been blogging for? you make blogging glance easy. The total look of your web site is great, as smartly as the content!

  30. Wow, amazing weblog format! How lengthy have you been blogging for? you make blogging glance easy. The overall look of your site is fantastic, as smartly as the content material!

  31. Real excellent info can be found on blog.

  32. Thanks for your post right here. One thing I would really like to say is that often most professional career fields consider the Bachelor’s Degree like thejust like the entry level standard for an online college diploma. While Associate Qualifications are a great way to get started on, completing ones Bachelors reveals many opportunities to various jobs, there are numerous on-line Bachelor Course Programs available from institutions like The University of Phoenix, Intercontinental University Online and Kaplan. Another issue is that many brick and mortar institutions give Online editions of their college diplomas but typically for a significantly higher charge than the institutions that specialize in online course programs.

  33. I simply could not leave your web site prior to suggesting that I really enjoyed the usual info a person supply to your guests? Is going to be again often in order to check out new posts.

  34. 909860 619505Absolutely pent topic matter, regards for entropy. 193677

  35. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You obviously know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  36. Thank you for sharing excellent informations. Your site is very cool. I am impressed by the details that you have on this website. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for more articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched all over the place and simply could not come across. What a perfect web site.

  37. Some truly nice stuff on this website , I love it.

  38. This web site is really a walk-through for all of the info you wanted about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and you’ll definitely discover it.

  39. 432633 732047I genuinely enjoy seeking at on this site , it has great content . 923905

  40. 724015 264431Im glad to become a visitor in this pure site, regards for this rare information! 901284

  41. 704366 44641I dont normally have a look at these kinds of sites (Im a pretty shy person) – but even though I was a bit shocked as I was reading, I was surely a bit excited as nicely. Thanks for giving me a big smile for the day 675731

  42. Please send flyer to brian@lobbyistsforcitizens.com..We will publish this as a separate post.

  43. Dear LFC, Thank you for the informative article and comment thread. Follow the money.

    Side note: Bricker & Eckler, Attorneys at law, (Bricker.com) were “Silver” level sponsors of the Ohio School Boards Association’s (OSBA) recent Capital Conference in Columbus.

    In the Nov. 11, 2019, OSBA bi-monthly newsletter “Briefcase”, there was a flyer advertising “Levy University” coming up Dec. 13, 2019, in Columbus. It is directed to local school board members and costs $170 to attend. Do you think that school board members pay the $170 personally? If not, then who? PACs or school districts?

    The lead speaker at “Levy University” is Jerry Rampelt, founder and executive director of ‘Support Ohio Schools Research and Education Foundation’ and author of ‘The Levy Manual’. The Levy Manual is about how to win school tax campaigns is considered the premier book about school tax issues in Ohio per this webpage: https://www.pivotplanet.com/advisors/nonprofit-director/jerry-rampelt.

    The local board members have experts training them on how to win levies.

    Recently, I have heard about the use public relations firms by school districts to handle multiple aspects of communications with local communities and also professional coaching and managing of pro-levy campaigns. That’s another conversation but is related.

    I would like to send you a picture of the “Levy University” flyer but don’t see the option to attach an image.

  44. More citizens have to understand what it takes to fight back…Congratulations on your success.

  45. We have a PAC in Euclid and have fundraisers to fight different issues. We have won 5 in a row.

  46. That is also true with the lobbyists used by the various teacher organizations to influence the State legislators. People need to wake up!

  47. yep. Teachers are paid with our tax dollars so in a way our own money is used against us.

  48. Do we have this right? PAC is formed / Teachers Give Money to the Unions / Unions Give Money to the PAC / Levy is Passed Because We Must Do It for the Children / Taxpayers Give More Money to Schools / Schools Give More Money to the Teachers / Teachers Pay More Dues to the Unions / SENIORS GET PRICED OUT OF THEIR HOMES! ……and we are just supposed to sit back and let this happen????

  49. Yes. It is in Euclid through payroll deduction.

  50. Yes, on our to do list….will report to the citizens. I was told, but have not confirmed, that the unions are taking $ from teachers and channeling to the PAC’s. I sounds like this is a common practice.

  51. Check with your Board of Elections to see who contributed to this PAC. you may find ver6 large contributions from the companies and unions who built those schools.


  1. Schools Hiring Pros to Pass Levies…we will expose them – Lobbyists for Citizens

Leave a Reply

Discover more from Lobbyists for Citizens

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading