fbpx
Dallas, TX
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
39°
English Español

Social

Fine Print

English Español

Local ISD Allegedly Engaged in Illegal Political Electioneering

Education

Wylie ISD Sign | Image by FOX 4

Donate to Dallas Express to Keep it Free

A local DFW school district potentially violated multiple state laws prohibiting electioneering and political advertising with tax dollars on the eve of Tuesday’s general election.

Wylie Independent School District (ISD) sent out a direct mail piece to residents of the district that arrived in mailboxes on Saturday, November 5.

Wylie ISD is listed as the sender on the piece and paid for it with public tax dollars levied by the district.

The mail piece resembled a political campaign flyer, the receipt of which is common during this time of year due to the upcoming elections.

On both sides of the mail piece, Wylie ISD claimed to be presenting residents with “the facts” about the district.

“There’s been misinformation circulating in our community about our school district. We want to take a moment to share the facts,” a headline on the mail piece read.

The “facts” Wylie ISD wanted residents to know about had to do with a number of hot-button issues that are at the center of a contentious battle for control of the school board in Tuesday’s election.

The mailer insisted that Wylie ISD does not teach critical race theory or have any explicit or pornographic materials on campus. It also insisted that the district teaches “values” and promotes “patriotism.”

Moreover, the mail piece contained a link to the district’s website, where a page had been set up mirroring its content and providing users with more in-depth explanations of the claims being made.

Tim Davis, a local attorney, immediately sent a formal cease and desist letter to the Wylie ISD board president, Stacie Smith, on behalf of a number of Wylie ISD residents and taxpayers.

“Over the weekend, Wylie residents received a flyer, paid for by WISD, regarding issues relevant in the now-occurring trustee elections,” Davis wrote.

“The content and the timing of this material underscores that it is political advertising meant to support certain candidates and oppose others,” Davis continued.

Central to Davis’ claims are several portions of Texas law that directly prohibit these activities by a school board specifically and by political subdivisions of the state more generally.

The Texas Education Code clearly states, “Notwithstanding any other law, the board of trustees of an independent school district may not use state or local funds or other resources of the district to electioneer for or against any candidate, measure, or political party.”

Davis also highlighted a provision in the Texas Election Code that reads, “An officer or employee of a political subdivision may not knowingly spend or authorize the spending of public funds for political advertising.”

The letter calls for the immediate removal of the Wylie ISD website with this content and for the district to “cease all expenditures of public money for electioneering or political advertising.”

The Dallas Express reached out to Wylie ISD through the email provided on the website linked to the mail piece and made several inquiries, including why these topics were chosen, who designed these materials, and whether the district agreed that such activity constituted political advertising.

Thus far, the district has failed to respond.

Michael Schwerin, who is challenging an incumbent for Wylie ISD Board Place 6, spoke with The Dallas Express about these election-eve activities by the district.

Schwerin, a nonprofit executive in his private life, said that the content of this mail piece and the corresponding website are “direct responses to the concerns” that the political challengers to the current board have raised.

He also claimed that from what he could tell, the mail piece hit the entire 75098 zip code as the district opted to use a method of delivery known as Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM). With EDDM, the sender does not use a traditional list of addresses but pays the post office to deliver to a whole geographical area.

There are tens of thousands of mailable addresses in the 75098 zip code.

One of the main issues that Schwerin and the other challengers, who he named as Jill Palmer, Jeffery Keech, and Kevin Brooks, have highlighted during their campaign is Wylie ISD’s allegedly out-of-control spending.

“In my work as a nonprofit executive, I have looked into the costs of these types of mailings,” Schwerin said, noting the cost was likely five figures. “This is a perfect example of the extraordinary waste that goes on with the current board.”

We welcome and appreciate comments on The Dallas Express as part of a healthy dialogue. We do ask that you be kind. Kind to each other and to everyone else in your comments. For more information, please refer to our Complete Comment Moderation Policy.

Subscribe to Comments
Notify of
guest

9 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rachelle
Rachelle
21 days ago

Yes, it’s time to stand up to these WOKE school board members. We’re not having it here in Texas. Vote them OUT!!!

Ran
Ran
21 days ago

Go Wylie! Soo, a district can’t stand on they’re principles when the left is announcing and claim to be tolerant of everything (regardless of moral compass or legal precedence) and everyone, only if those people agree with nation dividing and nation destroying platforms such as CRT and LGBTQ+. If you don’t agree you are a bigot racist? So again, why can’t Wylie advertise their position?

Pap
Pap
21 days ago

Where are the attorneys for cease and desist orders for Beto when he was having a rally with loudspeaker just outside a polling location? Wants to be governor is is already breaking the law.

LUCINDA Goodwin
LUCINDA Goodwin
21 days ago

You know, from someone who does not live in Wylie anymore, but LOVED this school district: what in the name of HONESTY is wrong with people these days. This school board has been constantly barged with unsubstantiated and erroneous complaints and ‘stories’ that in my day were called LIES. Now, anyone can say anything and then get their britches in an uproar by the truth being told. This article is biased but expected. Truth matters. I am 66 years old and was able “by myself” to find videos to prove that LIES have been nourished in this campaign. And then stupid lawyers say to the school to stop telling the truth. Unbelievable. Shouldnt every citizen in the county expect and deserve their representatives to speak the TRUTH.

Djea3
Djea3
Reply to  LUCINDA Goodwin
20 days ago

Its makes no difference whether the district is doing everything else properly and doing the right thing. Spending 5 to 10 thousand dollars or more on political advertising in direct mail is a CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE because it uses TAX DOLLARS to do so. Every government agency (including school districts) are supposed to be run in a manner that is above reproach. Failing that then the boards and elected officials and even the employed management need to be TERMINATED.

Roger Ward
Roger Ward
21 days ago

The Dallas Express claims to present only fact-based news without taking sides, etc but when you name the challengers to the incumbents you are giving them free advertising. Worse yet, you might have looked into the broader allegations of those challengers. The District was wrong to use taxpayer money for a purpose that could be seen as political. But the underlying accusations against Wylie ISD by the challengers you named are false. Your article gives the impression that the District is trying to cover up information rather the the opposite.

You are correct that people need to have faith in the news media so that they can make informed decisions. This kind of reporting does not accomplish that. Instead, it takes sides and does not do much to enlighten readers.

Charlotte Rose
Charlotte Rose
21 days ago

WISD has sent out information in the past – timing might be off – but having just received their Superior rating also makes it timely. The Wylie Way works…

Djea3
Djea3
20 days ago

Time for a full recall election and termination of the top administration and the attorney for the district. Then, a suit to recover the unlawfully spent funds from those who authorized it.
The recall election needs to be IMMEDIATE for every person on the board.

Dictionary101
Dictionary101
19 days ago

There are ZIP Codes (the proper spelling/capitalization of the term) well beyond 75098 that are part of WISD, so I am not sure the claims made here are factual and relevant.