TCAPS to hold special meeting to discuss state violations
Campaign violations issued by the state against Traverse City Area Public Schools will be the topic of a special board meeting on Friday. This centers around a bond millage proposal that was on the November 2012 ballot.
TCAPS administrators were notified by the Bureau of Elections this week that they might need to pay back $25,656 to the district. The dollar amount came from the state this week as part of a conciliation agreement, but it has not been set in stone yet.
This comes after a complaint was filed with the state in October of 2012 by a Traverse City resident. The complaint alleges there was inappropriate wording used in a flier that was sent to parents explaining the district's $100-million bond proposal. The inappropriate word was 'support.' The state say it's a violation of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act because parents were asked to 'support' the proposal.
District officials say they spent $25,656 to design, print, mail, and later destroy the fliers in 2012.
"We weren't using it with that intention," said TCAPS Superintendent, Steve Cousins. "We thought we were stating the question that was on the ballot in a more common sense way."
Cousins says the district does not know at this time if they will accept the terms to pay the money.
"Whether that's the appropriate step, is something that is in the conciliation agreement and that's something we're having a conversation with our district attorney this week."
Cousins says they will meet with an attorney on Friday afternoon, and a decision whether to accept the ruling must be made by May 30.
Phone calls were made to the Bureau of Elections and were directed to the communications department. Representatives could not provide details on the situation, and only issued this statement:
"The Bureau of Elections continues to work with the school district to resolve the campaign-finance complaint," said Fred Woodhams.
The money cannot come from the TCAPS general fund or other taxpayer-supported dollars. Cousins does not know yet where the money would come from.