New Levy Activity Guidelines Released for School Administrators
August 29, 2023
The recent criminal charges brought against members of the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek School Board caused many school districts across the state to pause all activity related to levy campaigns. In the wake of this development, public school organizations appealed directly to the State for guidance on how to navigate laws surrounding the passage of school levies and on the specific activities school districts and school board members are and are not permitted to engage in.
Ohio Auditor of State Keith Faber has now released the much-awaited guidance. The full document is linked below in its entirety and we encourage school administrators to share it widely, including with other school district officials and employees. It addresses the state auditor’s perspective on several frequently asked questions, including those related to:
- use of the school district website, e-mail, and other communication tools;
- the fine line between providing information and influencing a levy;
- formation of and communication with levy committees;
- sharing information regarding school district resources;
- permitted activities of district leaders, faculty, and staff members;
- display of campaign materials and use of district facilities;
- involvement of students and staff in supporting a levy;
- community surveys and data collection; and
- compensation agreements and employment contracts for district administrators.
This guidance from the State should be interpreted as such and should not be considered legal advice or relied on as a substitute for experienced legal advice from school law attorneys. While the guidance is appreciated by districts across Ohio, it should be noted that this is a very complex area of the law.
To help our clients and partners better understand the implications of these guidelines and their impact with respect to current and future school levy campaigns, Kegler Brown will be hosting an educational event in the near future.
More information will follow. Stay tuned for details.