With taxpayer opposition to Conroe Independent School District’s $807 million bond/tax hike growing, district administration has apparently become desperate to boost pro-bond turnout.
In a series of last-minute efforts, CISD is spending taxpayer dollars on a get-out-the-vote campaign promoting material heavily biased in favor of the bond, skirting the line of what’s legal and possibly crossing into illegal activities.
Right before early voting, CISD used tax dollars to send out large, glossy mailers to voters in the district. Although exact numbers are not available, local political operatives told Texas Scorecard that the cost of mailing to a district the size of CISD would certainly be in the range of tens of thousands of dollars.
These mailers could be in violation of state law. According to the Texas Ethics Commission, school districts are allowed to distribute informational material. However, “the information must not be sufficiently substantial and important, such that it would be reasonably likely to influence a voter to vote a certain way.”
While the mailers do not explicitly say to vote for the bond, the information they provide is entirely favorable to the proposal, excluding any facts that might cause people to consider voting against it.
As revealed by The Golden Hammer, CISD has also sent out an email blast to parents who have children enrolled in CISD schools, encouraging them to “get out and vote”. Like the mailer, the email contains information heavily biased in favor of the bond, which may be crossing the line into illegal advocacy.
Additionally, CISD closed the schools on the first day of early voting and gave employees the day off.
The superintendent also released a video saying that if district employees voted, the dress code would be waived and they could wear blue jeans to school the next day.
Early voting runs from April 22-29. Election Day is May 4.