More than 100 local districts have placed a combined $16 billion in property tax-backed debt on the May 7 ballot.

In one San Antonio-area school district, employees are being pressured and intimidated into supporting a massive $992 million bond.

According to leaked emails obtained by Corey DeAngelis, the national director of research at the American Federation for Children, a principal at a Northside ISD elementary school emailed teachers last month ahead of early voting, telling them that “all employees will be expected [by the superintendent] to vote for this Bond.”

The school and principal’s names were redacted.

Additionally, the email pointed out that only 7 percent of NISD employees voted during the last bond election, calling it “unacceptable.”

A followup email obtained by DeAngelis showed the same principal saying that only seven out of 49 employees had voted, noting that he had a list and would monitor their status.

Additionally, a weekly newsletter from the school’s superintendent, Brian Woods, also stressed the important of getting employees to vote in the bond election, saying, “As many of you have heard in the staff presentations, we need to do much better with employee voter participation.”

In a notable turn of events, the American Federation of Teacher’s Union chapter for Northside ISD said in an email to its members that it had heard complaints from teachers about electioneering from district staff.

“Many employees have felt threatened and feel intimidated to vote for this bond. We want to be clear that telling employee voters how to vote, or forcing them to vote, is unlawful. We have addressed this with the district and are awaiting communication,” Northside AFT said in an email.

It is a violation of the Texas Education Code for school districts to use taxpayer resources to distribute messages to their staff and the public advocating for or against political candidates and measures.

Following the release, Gov. Greg Abbott said he spoke with Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath, who confirmed that the communication (if verified) is likely a crime, and pledged to work with the Attorney General’s Office on investigation the matter.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens