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Stanislaus COE |  BP  1160  Community Relations

Political Processes   

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The Stanislaus County Board of Education has a responsibility to actively advocate fiscal and public policy that supports the Stanislaus County Office of Education's schools and the children in the community. The County Board shall be proactive in defining the County Office's advocacy agenda based on the County Office's vision and goals and the needs of the County Office and community. The County Board's advocacy efforts shall be conducted in accordance with legal requirements.

(cf. 0000 - Vision)

(cf. 0200 - Goals for the School District)

(cf. 4119.25/4219.25/4319.25 - Political Activities of Employees)

(cf. 9000 - Role of the Board)

(cf. 9010 - Public Statements)

Ballot Measures/Candidates

No County Office funds, services, supplies, or equipment shall be used to urge the support or defeat of any ballot measure or candidate, including any candidate for election to the County Board. (Education Code 7054)

The County Board may discuss and study the potential effect of proposed or qualified ballot measures on the County Office's schools at an open and agenized County Board meeting. The County Board's discussion of the effect of such measures shall include an opportunity for staff and members of the public to speak on all sides of the issue. At that meeting, the County Board may adopt a position or resolution in support of or in opposition to a ballot measure. The language in any resolution adopted by the County Board shall not urge the public to take any action regarding the measure.

(cf. 9320 - Meetings and Notices)

The County Board's position on a ballot measure, including any resolution, shall be publicized only through normal County Office procedures and consistent with regular County Office practice for reporting County Board actions. Such publicity shall be for informational purposes and shall not attempt to influence voters.

The Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools or designee may use County Office resources to provide students, parents/guardians, and community members with fair and impartial information related to ballot measures, including information about the impact of ballot measures on the County Office. (Education Code 7054)

(cf. 1100 - Communication with the Public)

In preparing or distributing such informational material, the County Superintendent or designee shall analyze the material to help ensure that it is an appropriate informational activity, provides a fair analysis of the issues, and does not advocate passage or defeat of a measure or candidate.

County Office resources, including email or computer systems, shall not be used to disseminate campaign literature. In addition, County Office resources shall not be used to purchase advertisements, bumper stickers, posters, or similar promotional items that advocate an election result or urge voters to take any action in support of or in opposition to a measure.

(cf. 1325 - Advertising and Promotion)

Political activity related to County Office bond measures shall, in addition to the above, be subject to the following conditions:

1. The County Superintendent or designee may research, draft, and prepare a County Office bond measure or other initiative for the ballot, but shall not use County Office resources to influence voters or otherwise campaign for the measure.

2. Upon request, County Board members and County Office administrators may appear at any time before a citizens' group to explain why the County Board called for an election on a bond measure and to answer questions. (Education Code 7054.1)

If the presentation occurs during working hours, the employee representing the County Office shall not urge a citizens' group to vote for or against the bond measure.

3. The County Board or any individual County Board member may file a written argument for the ballot that is either for or against any school measure. (Elections Code 9501)

Legislation

The County Board's responsibility as an advocate for the County Office may include lobbying and outreach at the state, national, and local levels. The County Board and County Superintendent or designee shall work to establish and maintain ongoing relationships with elected officials, community leaders, and the media in order to communicate County Office positions and concerns.

(cf. 1020 - Youth Services)

(cf. 1112 - Media Relations)

(cf. 1400 - Relations Between Other Governmental Agencies and the Schools)

(cf. 7131 - Relations with Local Agencies)

In order to strengthen legislative advocacy efforts, the district may work with organizations and coalitions and may join associations whose representatives lobby on behalf of their members in accordance with Government Code 53060.5.

The County Office may provide fair and impartial information about legislative issues affecting schools and children and shall inform the community about its advocacy activities. However, informational materials about legislation shall not urge the public to lobby the legislature, Governor, or state agencies on behalf of the County Office .

As necessary, the County Board may direct the County Superintendent or designee to draft legislative or regulatory proposals which serve the County Office's interests.

Legal Advocacy

The County Board recognizes that some issues are more appropriately addressed judicially rather than legislatively. When a legal issue is likely to set a state or national precedent, the County Office may join with other County Offices, districts or parties in order to resolve the issue through litigation or other appropriate means.

(cf. 9124 - Attorney)

(cf. 9321 - Closed Session Purposes and Agendas)

Political Forums

Forums on political issues may be held in County Office facilities as long as the forum is made available to all sides of the issue on an equitable basis. (Education Code 7058)

(cf. 1330 - Use of School Facilities)

Legal Reference:

EDUCATION CODE

7050-7058 Political activities of school officers and employees, including:

7054 Use of district property

7054.1 Requested appearance

7056 Soliciting or receiving political funds

35160 Authority of governing boards

35172 Promotional activities

ELECTIONS CODE

9501 School district elections, arguments for or against a measure

GOVERNMENT CODE

8314 Unlawful use of state resources

53060.5 Attendance at legislative body; expenses

54953.5 Right to record proceedings

54953.6 Broadcasts of proceedings

81000-91015 Political Reform Act, including:

82031 Definition of independent expenditure

CODE OF REGULATIONS, TITLE 2

18600-18640 Lobbyists

18901.1 Campaign related mailings sent at public expense

COURT DECISIONS

Vargas v. City of Salinas, (2009) 46 Cal. 4th 1

Santa Barbara County Coalition Against Automobile Subsidies v. Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 1229

Yes on Measure A v. City of Lake Forest, (1997) 60 Cal.App.4th 620

Choice-in-Education League et al v. Los Angeles Unified School District, (1993) 17 Cal.App.4th 415

League of Women Voters v. Countywide Criminal Justice Coordination Committee, (1988) 203 Cal.App.3d 529

Miller v. Miller, (1978) 87 Cal.App.3d 762

Stanson v. Mott, (1976) 17 Cal. 3d 206

ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINIONS

88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 46 (2005)

73 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 255 (1990)

Management Resources:

CSBA PUBLICATIONS

Legal Guidelines: Use of Public Resources for Ballot Measures and Candidates, Fact Sheet, February 2011

Legal Guidelines for Lobbying Activity, Fact Sheet, February 2011

INSTITUTE FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS

Legal Issues Associated with Use of Public Resources and Ballot Measure Activities, June 2010

WEB SITES

CSBA: http://www.csba.org

Fair Political Practices Commission: http://www.fppc.ca.gov

Institute for Local Government: http://www.ca-ilg.org

Policy STANISLAUS COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION

adopted: June 22, 2012 Modesto, California