Thursday, December 2, 2010

Proposal: Palm Beach County School District
to pay fine for election law violations

From Marc Freeman of the Sun-Sentinel on Dec. 2:
The Palm Beach County School District violated state election laws and must pay a $750 fine, but Superintendent Art Johnson won't take the heat for it, according to a proposed settlement agreement.

The agreement would resolve a complaint by conservative political activist Jack Furnari, of Boca Raton, who accused Johnson and the district of distributing political materials to students and employees concerning the School Board's recent voter referendum to continue a special property tax.

"The fine should have been higher, but the school district's admission of guilt is significant," Furnari said. "Local governments have now been put on notice that using taxpayer money to produce political propaganda for any reason is forbidden."

After the Florida Elections Commission agreed last month to investigate the claim, Johnson requested negotiations for a settlement of the case.

The agreement states that the district violated state law by using public funds for a political advertisement in support of the referendum. But the settlement also dismisses the complaint against Johnson "because he did not direct the development of the flier at issue."

It's now up to the School Board to vote Wednesday on accepting the settlement, called a Consent Final Order.


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