Sunday, January 13, 2013

COAST moves to force disclosure of documents showing CPS abuse of taxpayer dollars

COAST and its Chairman Tom Brinkman have moved Judge Steve Martin to force the disclosure of documents that they believe will will prove their claim of widespread abuse of tax dollars in 2012 inside Cincinnati Public Schools for campaign purposes.  That motion is here.  The discovery exchange supporting that motion are here and here.

As COAST addresses here and here, it and Brinkman have recently sued Cincinnati Public Schools for violating (for a second time) the 2002 agreement whereby CPS promised never again to abuse taxpayer dollars to advocate for or against any candidate or issue on the ballot.
The Cincinnati Federation of Teachers and Cincinnatians Active to Support Education (the pro-levy campaign committee) are working to block COAST from obtaining documents in discovery to show
the widespread abuse of tax dollars by the teacher's union and the pro-levy campaign.   The motion is to force the disclosure of those documents that are directly relevant to COAST's claims.

Attached to the Complaint in this year's case are e-mails that COAST obtained through a public records request that show active collusion between CPS, CFT and CASE to use school property, school equipment and school personnel, on public time, to recruit volunteers for pro-levy campaign activities.

Those e-mail chains show that levy organizers tried to carefully conduct those communications through the personal e-mail accounts of school district personnel, even though they were performing those pro-levy activities on school time and using school property and equipment.

Among other documents, COAST has sought those personal e-mail communications to prove the widespread abuse of tax dollars for campaigning.  CFT and CASE have produced only one document to date -- that being a campaign calendar that shows that virtually the entire CASE campaign were volunteer "Days of Action" organized around each school.  The union "building representative" in each school -- the union steward -- was charged, during the school day, with recruiting other school district employees and perhaps students and parents to volunteer on the pro-levy campaign for that "Day of Action."   

As we reported here, CFT moved to intervene in the case to assert a claimed right of teachers to campaign on public time, which COAST sees as a smoking gun admission that such activities were indeed widespread inside CPS in direct violation of its 2002 Agreement.  The documents sought will show directly the extent of that abuse.

Judge Martin will hold a hearing on the Motion on February 4.

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