Election complaint filed against Groveport Madison over levy campaign

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MADISON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WCMH) — A local school district was handed a cease and desist letter from the state Auditor’s office.

Tuesday, people in Groveport will head to the polls to vote on a district tax levy. The levy has been a controversial topic. Now, the school district is being accused of faulty campaign practices.
The Auditor of State issued the cease and desist letter over a video that was posted on the district’s website. In the video, the superintendent asks for the community’s support for a tax levy.

According to the Auditor’s office, a complaint accused the district of using district facilities to organize volunteers and put out a campaign video through outlets paid for with district funds.

The district said it removed the video from its website out of an abundance of caution.

The district issued the following statement:

Groveport Madison Schools received a notification from the Ohio Auditor of State’s Office making us aware they have received a complaint alleging the District may have violated Ohio campaign practices. The notification further states that the Auditor’s Office has not confirmed the accuracy of the allegation – nor has the allegation even been investigated. 

 The allegation states that the District used school facilities for campaign purposes. The District asserts this is not a violation, as the campaign followed the District’s Facilities Use Guidelines established under Board of Education Policy. The campaign applied for and paid for the use of the facilities and no District nor public funds were used as part of the campaign’s activities. 

The allegation further states that the District encouraged support of the levy and bond issue in an informational video that was posted on the District’s website. While this allegation has not been substantiated by the Auditor of State’s Office, out of an abundance of caution, the District has removed the video in question from our website. 

Groveport Madison Schools takes very seriously our responsibility to comply with Ohio’s laws governing campaign practices. We will continue to be vigilant in this regard and we welcome any inquiries by the Auditor of State’s Office. 

The replacement tax levy would come at no additional cost to taxpayers would generate more than $5 million per year.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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