Michigan School Uses Kids, District Resources to Push for Tax Increase

Kyle Olson

2/2/2012 12:01:00 AM - Kyle Olson

You just have to love it when government uses taxpayer resources to convince taxpayers to cough up more. It takes an unusually large set of brass ones to do such a thing.

But that’s apparently how they roll in the Western School District, near Battle Creek, Michigan.

Apparently unaware for the past dozen years that technology can play a role in improving education, school officials want to raise taxes (about $180 annually for a $100,000 home) to pay for technology upgrades.

The school district has blurred ethical lines in order to accomplish its mission.

The “Vote Yes!” campaign posted a picture on Facebook of what appear to be elementary students standing in campaign t-shirts giving the thumbs up. It had the caption, “These future WHS Panther wrestlers hope you support the bond proposal and vote ‘YES’ on February 28th.”

[Here is a screen grab of the Facebook page, should it “conveniently” disappear.]

Equally disturbing, the website domain of the bond supporters, westernschoolsbond.org, is registered to none other than Western superintendent Michael Smajda. The organization? “Western School District Bond Campaing [sic] 2012.” The address? “1400 S. Dearing Road. Parma, MI 49269.”

That’s the address for the school district administration building. Smajda’s taxpayer-funded email address is even listed as the website’s registrant email.

It’s illegal to use government resources for any type of political campaign, even if the goal of the campaign is to raise money for a government entity. This line has been casually crossed too many times by too many people in government, quite often educators. The state must put an end to this illegal and unethical practice, starting right now.