68
      Saturday
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      Sunday
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      Monday
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      Agreement requires school district to reimburse taxpayers for bond mailing

      Traverse City Area Public School officials will have to reimburse $24,800 in taxpayer money following an election violation involving a school bond issue.

      Traverse City Area Public School officials will have to reimburse $24,800 in taxpayer money following an election violation involving a school bond issue.

      The Board of Education approved the concilliation agreement Monday.

      The revised agreement requires that the district raise $24,800 in "private funds" to reimburse TCAPS for taxpayer money spent designing and mailing a 2012 bond information flyer. Language used in the flyer was cited in a complaint made to the Secretary of State under the Michigan Campaign Finance Act.

      The revised agreement allows $10,000 of the $24,800 to come, in part, in the form of training for district officials about campaign finance requirements. The district's attorneys, Thrun Law Firm, have agreed to provide the training at no charge. Under the agreement, the district's legal counsel has also agreed to review, at no charge, future bond information materials before they are distributed.

      The agreement does not identify who must pay or where the "private funds" must come from. Superintendent Cousins has, however, voluntarily agreed to pay the remaining $14,800 to the district. Payments will be made in quarterly installments. The full $14,800 must be paid by June 1, 2015.

      "From day one, I have accepted responsibility for the contents of the flyer on behalf of the district," said Steve Cousins, superintendent of Traverse City Area Public Schools. "The use of the word 'support' was an honest mistake, but we must follow the law. We look forward to resolving this matter so that we can shift 100% of our focus back to our students and to advancing the district's strategic plan."