Auditor of State Releases Final Levy and Bond Campaign Guidance after Criminal Prosecutions


Woman and daughter turning their vote in at a polling location

In November 2021, for the first time in Ohio history, a public school superintendent and four elected board of education members were criminally charged for activities related to a levy campaign designed to financially support the school district.  Since that time, the Auditor of State (AOS) has been working on guidance to help public employees and officials operate in compliance with Ohio law.  The final version of the AOS Guidance was issued today.

As stated in the AOS Guidance, Ohio Revised Code Section 9.03 prohibits covered public entities from using public funds to support or oppose a levy or bond issue.  This prohibition includes compensating public employees from spending public time influencing the outcome of levy or bond issue.  However, public entities, employees, and officials are permitted to communicate factual information about operations, finances and facilities. Public employees and officials must reserve any advocacy effort for their personal time.  There is plenty of gray area between what is permitted and prohibited, especially with respect to defining personal time.  The AOS created its guidance to help discern where the boundaries lie.

Keep in mind, that while the AOS Guidance has a public school focus, the AOS Guidance extends to all covered political subdivisions that place levy and bond issues on the ballot, with limited exceptions for ADAMH boards.

Please read more about the AOS Levy and Bond Campaign Guidance here.


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