Tea Party Activist Files Another Complaint Against Hartland Schools
April 21, 2017
A Tea Party activist has filed another campaign-finance complaint against the Hartland Consolidated Schools district.
Wes Nakagiri alleges the district has been using taxpayer funded facilities to advocate a yes vote on a sinking fund proposal to appear on the May ballot. He filed two Michigan Campaign Finance Act complaints with the Bureau of Elections after the district denied two Freedom of Information Act or FOIA requests in which he sought to access the district website and email to distribute his opposing viewpoints.
The latest complaint filed alleges the Board of Education distributed a mass mailing expressly advocating a yes vote. He further alleges it did not include an identification statement and a ballot question committee was not formed. The complaint is attached, which includes the board letter stating members are reaching out as concerned citizens, not part of any official board action.
Superintendent Chuck Hughes tells WHMI they believe that they have provided appropriate information to their constituents. Officials maintain the proposal is not a tax hike but a net zero increase since the board has agreed to lower the district’s debt levy if the proposal passes. The sinking fund is described as a pay-as-you-go method to repair and maintain aging buildings. The funds would be used for repairs, security enhancement, remodeling and technology.
Secretary of State Spokesman Fred Woodhams says the Bureau of Elections has asked the school district to respond to Nakagiri’s first campaign-finance complaint and is still reviewing the second one. He says the district has 15 business days to respond after the letter went out and then Nakagiri will have 10 business days to submit a rebuttal. Woodhams says elections staff then will consider the evidence and decide if they have reason to believe a violation occurred. (JM)