Do’s and Don’ts for Political Campaigns

Brad Banasik

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

DashBoard, Sept. 2, 2020

School board members and school employees are required to abide by Michigan’s Campaign Finance Act while campaigning in support of a political candidate. The following points may be used by school districts as a guide in determining the legal parameters of involvement for board members and school employees in political campaigns:

  • Board members and school employees may engage in campaign activities that support a candidate on their own time outside of work as long as district funds are not used.
  • A district may not give or loan paper, pencils, duplicating equipment, printing supplies and sundry items to a campaign committee supporting a candidate.
  • Leasing school facilities, including office space or phones, to a community group supporting a candidate for the purpose of contacting voters is prohibited.
  • The teachers’ lounge, school bulletin boards and other areas within a district building may not be used to disseminate literature supporting a candidate even if it was printed by an outside organization.
  • School buildings may be used for candidate presentations to community groups after school hours pursuant to board policy. Care should be taken to ensure that facilities are equally available to campaigns for all candidates 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 a candidate.
  • A school official is prohibited from using the school district computer network to send a mass email that expressly advocates for or against a candidate.
  • Unions and associations may communicate with their members about a candidate by using school mailboxes provided that such communications are sent only to the collective bargaining representatives’ members.

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