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District Policies

Viewing Policy: BP 1160 – Political Processes



BP 1160

Political Processes

 

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

 

Ballot Measures/Candidates

 

No county 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’s schools at an open and agendized 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.

 

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

 

The Superintendent or designee may use county 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.

 

In preparing or distributing such informational material, the 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 resources, including email or computer systems, shall not be used to disseminate campaign literature. In addition, county 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.

 

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

 

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

 

 

  1. Upon request, Board members and county 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 shall not urge a citizens’ group to vote for or against the bond measure.

 

  1. The County Board or any individual 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 programs may include lobbying and outreach at the state, national, and local levels.  The County Board and Superintendent or designee shall work to establish and maintain ongoing relationships with elected officials, community leaders, and the media in order to communicate county positions and concerns.

 

In order to strengthen legislative advocacy efforts, the county 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 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.

 

As necessary, the County Board may direct the Superintendent or designee to draft legislative or regulatory proposals which serve the county’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 may join with other parties in order to resolve the issue through litigation or other appropriate means.

 

Political Forums

 

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

 

 

Legal Reference:

EDUCATION CODE

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

7054  Use of county property

7054.1  Requested appearance

7056  Soliciting or receiving political funds

35160  Authority of governing boards

35172  Promotional activities

ELECTIONS CODE

9501  School county 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 County, (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)

 

 

Policy Adopted: 04-13-17