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Ohio Auditor Warns Schools Against Using Public Money On Levy Campaigns

A teacher in a classroom
Columbus Neighborhoods

Ohio’s Auditor is warning school districts that are on the ballot to make sure they are not using taxpayer or state money to fund their campaigns.

Republican Auditor Keith Faber says public school districts must make sure their campaign efforts are separate from their operations.

“And that means you can’t use staff time, you can’t use equipment, you can’t use mailings, email accounts, property for signs, all of those things that we see fairly regularly, Faber says.

Faber says his office gets regular complaints on infractions like these. He says, most times, schools do it inadvertently.

But he says when it happens, it’s wrong. And Faber wants the public and school officials to be aware of the line so they don’t step over it in the process of selling a school levy to voters.

“You see school districts printing their levy campaign materials in their print shop. You can’t do that," Faber says. "We see other things. We had one instance where a local entity donated what they thought was surplus equipment for sale by their levy committee and then kept that money from that proceed in their levy committee. That clearly isn’t allowed. That’s the same as donating money."

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.