Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Minnesota Legislature

Political ban for educators

Published (2/24/2012)
By Erin Schmidtke
Share on: 

Public school employees would be banned from using district resources to further any political agenda.

Sponsored by Rep. Kurt Bills (R-Rosemount), HF329 would provide that public resources intended for educational purposes cannot be directed to promote any candidate or issue. The House Education Finance Committee approved the bill Feb. 21, which now goes to the House floor.

Bills worries school employees are supporting political ideas while on the job, when they are supposed to be acting as nonpartisan educators. He referenced a policy already in place in the Lakeville School District, which barred its staff from spending district resources on political activity after it received complaints from parents.

“Schools are a place of learning, not politics for any side,” Bills said.

Jan Alswager, chief lobbyist for Education Minnesota, said the bill would infringe on educators’ rights.

“This bill is overreaching. … Is that really how we want to be interpreting freedom of speech?” she asked.

John Kysylyczyn, former mayor of Roseville, pushed for more action from the committee on the issue. He asked that such use of resources be categorized as a misdemeanor. He said that by not designating this type of activity as a criminal offense, school employees are allowed opportunities that private citizens are not.

Rep. Mindy Greiling (DFL-Roseville) said that she hoped Bills would not increase the list of banned activities or consequences for school employees, saying that there is often a blurred line between stating fact and political advocacy.

Sen. Dave Thompson (R-Lakeville) sponsors the companion, SF577, which awaits action by the Senate Education Committee.

Session Weekly More...

Session Weekly Home

Related Stories

Waiting for the governor’s final grade
Omnibus education bill nears finish line
(view full story) Published 4/27/2012

Last in, first out … out or in?
Conference committee weighs benefits of changing teacher layoff practices
(view full story) Published 3/30/2012

Education advocate is moving on
Rep. Mindy Greiling announces she won’t seek re-election
(view full story) Published 2/3/2012

Withholding state funds from schools
Education finance law keeps $780 million for other General Fund spending
(view full story) Published 8/11/2011

First try at K-12 finance bill fails
Dayton says special education cuts ‘would create significant funding gaps’
(view full story) Published 7/15/2011

‘Bold and beautiful’ or full of inequities?
Confusion exists whether K-12 bill increases or cuts funding
(view full story) Published 5/20/2011

Minnesota Index: Teaching and learning
Facts and statistics about education in Minnesota
(view full story) Published 5/20/2011

Lands set apart
Permanent School Fund management, income potential explored
(view full story) Published 5/13/2011

‘Social promotion’ to promote literacy
Third-graders could repeat if they can’t read
(view full story) Published 4/29/2011

Historic St. Paul walkout
Illegal action changed teacher bargaining; a new debate rises over right to strike
(view full story) Published 4/15/2011

Changes in education
House approves omnibus education finance bill
(view full story) Published 4/1/2011

Education finance bill offers bold reforms
Quantity not as key as quality, says DFL
(view full story) Published 3/25/2011

A voucher by any other name
Bill would create limited scholarships for low-income students
(view full story) Published 3/18/2011

Fewer days, longer hours
Some districts find four-day school week works as a budget fix
(view full story) Published 2/18/2011

First Reading: ‘Pitting the good against the good’
Proposed lift of safe schools mandate is a tough call
(view full story) Published 2/4/2011

The goal: 25,000 new teachers
Bush Foundation commits big bucks to revamp teacher training
(view full story) Published 1/28/2011

First Reading: Alternative teacher mindset
Tackling the achievement gap one classroom at a time
(view full story) Published 1/21/2011