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Board Resolution Against Voucher Petitions Now Available

Brad Banasik

By Brad Banasik, J.D., MASB Legal Counsel/Director of Labor Relations & Policy

and

Stacy Bogard

Stacy Bogard, CAE, MASB Assistant Director of Communications and Public Relations

DashBoard, April 20, 2022

In its continued effort to provide resources to accurately inform the public about the intent of the DeVos-backed ballot proposals that threaten public education across Michigan, the For MI Kids, For Our Schools coalition has developed a resolution school boards can adopt to show their support.

When addressing these petitions at the board table, it’s important to keep in mind:

  • A school board may discuss its opposition to the initiatives at an open meeting as well as adopt a resolution opposing them and record the resolution in the meeting minutes. However, the use of public resources to distribute or publicize the resolution beyond the regular provision of factual information regarding actions taken by the board is prohibited.
  • School districts may objectively inform community members of the facts surrounding the initiatives that are related to the function of a school district.
  • All information disseminated by a school district relating to the initiatives must be factual without expressly advocating for or against them if district funds are used. The factual information need not be balanced or present both sides, but information must be supported by facts, not opinions or conjecture.
  • Board members and school employees may engage in activities that oppose the initiatives on their own time outside of work as long as district funds are not used.
  • A school district may not use public resources to create and maintain internet links to websites, organizations, commentary or editorials that expressly oppose the initiatives if the district does so for the purpose of influencing the outcome of them.
  • School buildings may be used for presentations supporting or opposing the initiatives after school hours pursuant to board policy. Care should be taken to ensure that facilities are equally available to both proponents and opponents of the initiatives and appropriate fees, if required by board policy, are administered consistently.
  • Board members and school employees may use their own materials to draft letters to the editor to express their opinions on the initiatives.
  • The occasional, incidental use of public resources by superintendents to communicate their views on the initiatives to constituents or the media is permissible.
  • A school official is prohibited from using the school district computer network to send a mass email that expressly advocates against the initiatives.
  • Unions and associations may communicate with their members about the initiatives by using school mailboxes if such communications are sent only to the collective bargaining representatives’ members.

What You Can Do

Adopt the Board Resolution—drafted by MASB staff on behalf of For MI Kids, For Our Schools, the resolution makes your community aware of where your district stands on these initiatives.

Decline to Sign—Tell your friends, family, coworkers and community: “Do not sign the Let MI Kids Learn ballot initiatives” and share with them the facts about these proposals.

Spread the Word—For MI Kids has a resource library, including social media posts, to help you advocate for public schools.

Talk to Your Legislators—Contact your state representative and senator and tell them not to supports these initiatives.

Educate Your Community—request an informational briefing from For MI Kids.

Sign up for updates from For MI Kids and follow them on Facebook.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to MASB Executive Director Don Wotruba, CAE or contact the coalition directly.

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