Opinion: Del Mar Union School District should stop using taxpayer-funded resources for politics

Del Mar Union School District is provided funds by taxpayers to teach our children, but they are breaking the law by expending those resources in an attempt to influence the political process. Last week a database of emergency telephone numbers provided by parents were used with the school district’s automated calling system to deliver a political message recorded by district superintendent James Peabody. This is not an isolated incident. School facilities, equipment, personnel and resources are being illegally used in a lobbying effort.

Examples include:
• School property being used to hold organizational meetings
• Photocopying and resources being used to produce biased literature
• Computer servers used for electronic communications to organize lobbying efforts
• Teacher time during the contracted work hours of 7:45-2:45 have been utilized
• School databases have been used to generate mailing and calling lists

Under California law, including Education Code 7054, school districts are strictly prohibited from engaging in political advocacy using public resources. No use may be made of school property, funds, personnel, supplies or equipment to influence politics. Violation of this provision can either be a misdemeanor or felony and is punishable by fines and/or imprisonment. 7054(c).

Of course citizens, including teachers and administrators, are free to communicate their desires to the government, but they must use their own resources. It is also permissible for people to distribute facts, but that is not happening.

In this case, the union is using school district resources to embark on a propaganda campaign where kids are used as human shields behind which they yell “No More Cuts!” and “Protect Our Kids.” The facts are DMUSD spending has increased 46 percent over the last eight years and in only one of those years did the budget decline. DMUSD now spends more than $10,000 per student — a number that has GROWN every year for the last six years. Eighty-seven percent of school district monies are spent on teachers’ and administrators’ salaries and benefits. Any calls to protect kids are more accurately efforts to protect salaries.

It is a serious breach of the public trust when government officials spend public funds to create an advantage for one side of a political campaign. It’s even more egregious when they intentionally mislead caring parents with claims of false cuts. I call on the DMUSD school board to immediately cease using taxpayer-funded resources for political purposes.
Michael Robertson

Related posts:

  1. OPINION: Del Mar Union School District in desperate need of change Nov. 2
  2. Del Mar Union School District supports California schools’ Week of Action
  3. Del Mar Union School board authorizes district plan
  4. An open letter to Del Mar Union School District parents
  5. Del Mar Union School District board of trustees lacking in leadership

Short URL: http://www.delmartimes.net/?p=23873

Posted by Lorine Wright on May 13, 2011. Filed under Carmel Valley, Del Mar, Letters, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

3 Comments for “Opinion: Del Mar Union School District should stop using taxpayer-funded resources for politics”

  1. question the author

    If anyone knows about "breaking the law" it's Robertson.
    Robertson was the founder of the original MP3.com. Despite the early success of MP3.com on Wall Street (the day of the stock IPO (ticker:MPPP), the stock rose from $28 to peak at $103[2]), Robertson quickly led his company into a firestorm of lawsuits generated by the major record labels and music publishing concerns. The litigation sprang from Robertson's "Beam-it" program, a functionality that allowed people to quickly load their existing CD collection into online lockers at my.mp3.com and access their private music collections online from anywhere in the world. And also "Instant Listening" which allowed instant access of CDs purchased online from participating retailers. However, to launch the service Robertson essentially had to duplicate every music CD ever created. Although MP3.com purchased the CDs for their index and users had to supply their own copy as well, MP3.com violated copyright laws by failing to acquire licenses for the music that was internally duplicated by digitally storing the material on their servers.

    Massive lawsuits erupted, with MP3.com claiming fair use and record labels claiming copyright infringement. Virtually every major record label sued MP3.com with MP3 settling the majority of the law suits for tens of millions of dollars. Universal Music, however, held out and took the issue to court. After the trial started, in the landmark case of UMG v. MP3.com, MP3.com was found to have violated copyright laws.[3] MP3.com paid $53.4 million to settle Universal Music's claim.[4] This legal outcome triggered a class action complaint charging MP3.com and certain of its officers, including Robertson, and directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The complaint was boilerplate class action language but revolved entirely around the copyright lawsuit and subsequent stock price decline.

  2. OA Mom

    That doesn't exactly address the issue he raised. He must be right if you went to that length to attack his credibility.

  3. DMMOM

    I did not receive a robo-call political message from James Peabody. However, I agree that Del Mar is wasting a TON of money! They plead for money from parents constantly yet offer an outrageous pension package: if you are over 55, and have worked only 2 years in Del Mar Union, then you can retire and get 75% of your pension until you die.

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