Some Alabama public school systems helped campaign for a "yes" vote on a statewide referendum to use trust fund money to support the state's operating budget.
Such campaigning is legal according to previous attorney general opinions, which state that school officials can advocate a political measure if it furthers the purposes and missions of the school system. However, Thomas J. Scovill wrote to Attorney General Luther Strange on Sept. 12 to complain he feels recently hired Limestone County Superintendent Thomas Fisk violated the law by contacting school system employees by email to urge them to vote in favor of the amendment.
In his letter to Strange, which Scovill provided to The News Courier, Scovill wrote: “…the scope of the amendment is so distant from the purposes and missions of a public school system” that a decision to support it would be “faulty.”
A reply from Strange, if one was made, was not made available to The News Courier before the vote.
In Limestone County, the measure failed by a vote of 4,593 against and 3,593 for the amendment. Voters were deciding whether to use $437 million from a state trust fund to help balance the state General Fund budget for three years.
WSFA-TV (http://bit.ly/OWsZ0T) reports that schools in Montgomery, Butler and Crenshaw county have used automated phone-calling systems to encourage parents to support the amendment on the ballot in Tuesday's vote.
In Shelby County, school workers received emails encouraging them to both support the amendment and to ask others to do so, too.
Montgomery County school board president Charlotte Meadows says she's concerned about her district's involvement and has gotten complaints from people who received co-called "robo-calls."
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