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9/17/2013 2:24:00 PM
With override looming, school boards get election refresher
Mike Aylstock: “Sooner or later, there’s going to be a judge who overturns an election based on a blatant violation.”
Mike Aylstock: “Sooner or later, there’s going to be a judge who overturns an election based on a blatant violation.”

Yvonne Gonzalez
Staff Reporter

A new law further restricts how districts can talk about bond and override elections.

Sponsored by Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, House Bill 2156 was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer in April and will soon take effect statewide, impacting Mingus and Cottonwood-Oak Creek.

Mingus Union invited Verde Valley board members to attend an election do's and don'ts presentation by Mike Aystock, former superintendent and consultant with the AZ Risk Retention and Trust.

The Trust represents and protects 249 school districts in the state as a collective, giving legal advice and coverage. Mingus scheduled Aylstock's presentation before the board held its regular meeting Thursday night.

Aylstock addressed board members from Clarkdale-Jerome, Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Humboldt. He said the new law increase fines from $500 to $5,000 for schools that advocate for a bond or override election using district resources.

Using a parent roster to send an email blast that asks voters to say yes to the override, for example, is prohibited.

Districts cannot rent space to a third party holding an election event at the same time a district or government forum is taking place.

Norman Hall, claims counsel for The Trust, said this portion of law came about when a Scottsdale school was holding its open house at the same time they had rented space to an outside group that was asking people to vote for the upcoming bond election.

"A father complained to Rep. Kavanagh," he said.

The law also allows private citizens to file a lawsuit over a violation, where the state attorney used to be the only person who could act.

Aylstock said school districts need to educate themselves on the new law.

"Sooner or later, there's going to be a judge who overturns an election based on a blatant violation," he said.

Taylor Waste

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Henry

Bill 2156 text seems not to support the following
statement in the above news item 'there's going to
be a judge who overturns an election based on
blatant violation"...

Can Mr Aylstock expain?

The good news is that the gov entity can still
publish news items and/or ads of two types:

Type 1) Unbiased/Neutral info supporting YES
votes...And, also, Unbiased/Neutral info
supporting NO votes!

Type 2) The gov entity (individual or group of
individuals) form themselves as a political
entity and present their news item and/or
ads with their biased slant.

Both types should be used and encouraged...
as long gov entity identifies if the news item
and/or ads is "neutral" or "biased". And that the
gov entity does not violate the provisions of Bill

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