2017 NYSASA Conference
There has been a longstanding prohibition on school district funds being used for certain forms of advocacy. For instance, the commissioner of education has ruled in numerous decisions that it is improper for district funds to be used to exhort voters to approve a district’s budget or favor certain candidates in board elections. New restrictions on advocacy were included in the 2015-16 state budget, which extended the state’s Lobbying Act to apply to school districts.

The act, found in Article 1-A of the Legislative law, now regulates individuals and entities who engage in certain defined interactions with school district officials in an effort to influence the official actions of the district (although there is still an open question as to whether, under its terms, the act applies to school districts with populations of 5,000 or less).

The following is a primer on what school board members and school administrators need to know about the Lobbying Act.

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