As in past years, this office is providing this memorandum as a guide to District employees regarding their conduct in political campaigns for the upcoming general election, including the DPS Board of Education election, on November 5, 2013. Colorado’s Fair Campaign Practices Act prohibits certain school district and district employee involvement with candidates and ballot issue campaigns. As a means of ensuring compliance with the Act, your attention is directed to these guidelines to be followed in all buildings and by all personnel throughout the campaign.
School district employees are free to contribute their personal funds and services and to voice their own opinions on issues/candidates during their personal time. However, the use of employee work time, school facilities, equipment or funds in support of or against any candidate or ballot issue is not permissible. School District Employees shall not: 1. Use or expend public funds or supplies in favor of or against any ballot issue or candidate. 2. Send campaign materials home with students or ask students to work on a campaign in favor of or against a ballot issue or candidate. 3.
Allow or direct employees to assist directly or indirectly on a campaign during working hours. Work time includes any time that the employee is performing a duty at a school, school activity (e. g. football game, parent night), etc. 4. Use school printing and copying facilities, fax, email, school mailboxes, telephones, bulk mailing permits, or other district equipment or resources to advocate in favor of or against a ballot issue or candidate. 5. Provide transportation or advertising that utilizes public property or funds for the purpose of influencing, directly or indirectly, the passage or defeat of a ballot issue or candidate.
6. Grant an employee leave from his or her job or office with the district, with pay, to work on a campaign. 7. Collect money from colleagues at work in support of a candidate or ballot issue. 8. Distribute campaign literature at school, on school grounds or at school-sponsored activities or events. Guidelines for General Campaigns Page 2 9. Distribute or permit students, parents, or parent-school entities to distribute campaign materials or engage in campaign activities during the course of the regular school day within the school building or at school-sponsored activities. 10.
Wear t-shirts, campaign buttons, or display other such campaign materials during the course of the school day or at school sponsored activities, or on school grounds. School District Employees may: 1. Respond to unsolicited questions regarding candidates or a ballot issue. The answer should give facts, if they are available, not opinion or speculation, and should not suggest a particular vote. 2. Work on a campaign and speak out on a ballot issue and candidate(s) on their own time. Any employee who becomes involved in a campaign should take whatever steps are necessary to document that the effort is done on his or her own time.
If the employee is on a recorded hour system, the record should reflect that the employee took time off from public duties to engage in campaign activities. 3. Allow groups opposed to or supportive of a ballot issue and/or candidate(s) to use school facilities to discuss the issue consistent with district policy for community use of school facilities. The policy must be applied in an even-handed fashion to both supporters and opponents of the issue (e. g. , scheduling, fees, etc. must not favor one side or position). Community Use Office shall schedule, and collect any required fees, when a group or campaign utilizes a district facility.
4. Sponsor debates on ballot issues and/or candidate(s). If you choose to do so, please follow District Policy IMB- Teaching about Controversial/Sensitive Issues 5. Host a candidate forum to allow students to hear from candidates. Again, if you choose to do so, you must ensure that all candidates are invited and that all are given an equal opportunity to present their views. 6. Permit groups to distribute campaign materials outside school buildings, or at school events or activities, in a manner approved by the principal which will not interfere with student safety or the educational environment.
Generally, the distribution of campaign materials should be conducted off of school grounds so that student safety and the educational environment are not jeopardized. An equal opportunity should be provided to all candidates. The general election and Board of Education election is an important matter to the schools and interest in the campaign is encouraged. Questions about these guidelines should be referred to Amber Elias, Deputy General Counsel, at (720) 423-3886 or electronically at [email protected] org.