Athens City Schools fires back after accusation of illegal campa - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Athens City Schools fires back after accusation of illegal campaigning

Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler said Athens City Schools is illegally campaigning. (Source: WAFF) Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler said Athens City Schools is illegally campaigning. (Source: WAFF)
ATHENS, AL (WAFF) -

Accusations were made against Athens City Schools less than a day before Athens voters hit the polls to decide the school district's funding.

The Alabama State Auditor said Athens City Schools is illegally campaigning.

State Auditor Jim Zeigler believes Athens City Schools violated Alabama state law on four separate occasions by using taxpayer funds to  campaign for a "yes" vote in Tuesday’s property tax referendum

Tensions were high outside the Limestone County Courthouse minutes before Zeigler made the announcement. Zeigler said the illegalities include "vote yes" political signs outside of schools.

He's gone to court over these same issues before and lost. In July, an Alabama judge tossed Zeigler's suit against Baldwin County Schools over similar claims.

Athens City Schools held a news conference minutes after Zeigler's, denouncing what he said and telling the group they've done nothing wrong or illegal - and Monday morning, received backing from Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.

"The public has a right to know what the Alabama law plainly says,” said Zeigler. "The public has a right to know that it is being violated."

"It's really unfortunate that these opponents used their time today, the day before the election, to come here from Montgomery and make these kinds of political claims, when the real discussion needs to be about students and this proposal," said Athens School Board Attorney Shane Black.

If approved, Athens property tax owners will pay around $150 more annually per $100,000 in property owned. The district will then use the new funds to pay for a new schools.

Polls will open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and stay open until 7 p.m.

Copyright 2015 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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