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Auditor Warns Schools Against Using Tax Dollars on Levy Campaigns

photo of keith faber
Keith Faber said schools need to be mindful not to violate campaign spending rules.

Ohio's auditor is warning school districts that are on the ballot to make sure they are not using taxpayer or state money to fund their campaigns.

Republican Auditor Keith Faber said public school districts must make sure their campaign efforts are seperate from their operations. 

"And that means you can't use staff time, you can't use equipment, you can't use mailings, email accounts, property for signs, all those things that we see fairly regularly," Faber said.

Faber's office gets regular complaints on infractions like these. And he said, most times, schools do it inadvertently. But he said when it happens it's wrong. 

Faber on public schools using tax dollars or taxpayer-funded resources to fund their levy campaigns

"You see school districts printing their levy campaign materials in their print shop. You can't do that. We see other things. We had one instance where a local entity donated what they thought was surplus equipment for sale by their levy committee and then kept the money from that proceed in their levy committee," Faber said, "That clearly isn't allowed. That's the same as donating money."

Faber wants the public and school officials to be aware of the line so they don't step over it in the process of selling a school levy to voters.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.