NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A state elections law that goes into effect September 1 will create new procedures for school districts conducting school bond elections.
Nacogdoches ISD is now reviewing the measures ahead of its multi-million dollar November bond election. The changes are in the interest of efficiency and transparency.
The new elections law is designed to separate school districts from specific-purpose political committees created to support or oppose a measure, primarily school bonds. Patty Miller, Nacogdoches ISD's new communications coordinator has been handed the task of helping the district abide by the law.
"In the past a PAC committee was required to notify the school district as to who their officers were, what its plans were," Miller said.
The committees were also required to report school bond contributions and expenditures to the school district. Lawmakers determined school administrators weren't too efficient sharing the information when an open records request was filed. So the law was changed. As of September 1 reports should be filed with The Texas Ethics Commission.
Bond proponent leaders will organize on Saturday. It hasn't decided if a PAC will be formed.
"We're forming a group to get together to work on a flyer or a door hanger or different things," said Amber Teal, a proponent of the proposed bond.
School boards and administrators are restricted from campaigning, but according to Miller the district can provide information.
"We will be in contact with them to once again to provide them with factual information," Miller said. "If they're going to print something, we want to make sure that they have the right numbers and figures to make the public aware."
Unrelated to the new law, Nacogdoches ISD faculty and staff may be less intimidated to speak their mind. There's more clarity about what they can and can't do.
"During the day when you're on district time, you are not allowed to be pro or con on the bond," Miller said. "On your own time, when you're off district time, you can say however you feel."
Some people have already done that via social media.
Another change in elections law became effective in June. School districts are now required to post election notices on their websites, if the district has one. Before, bulletin board postings were sufficient.
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