school district. To the extent
these groups are independent
of the school district, the Texas
Election Code prohibition on
the use of public funds and
other laws, including the First
Amendment, may not apply.
The groups may, however, have
other legal obligations related
to their tax-exempt status, and
these laws may prevent them
from political advocacy during
an election season. PTAs and
booster clubs are permitted to
invite candidates to a candidate
forum, or to visit the groups’
meetings one by one, but such
invitations should be extended
to all candidates.
Q: May candidates post
campaign signs on school campuses?
A: Yes, if the school is in
use as a polling site and the
location of the sign complies
with state law and local policy.
Before election day:
Although it is a matter of local policy and practice, most
schools do not permit campaign signage to be placed
on their campuses unless
and until the campus is in
use as a polling site. In light
of the Texas Ethics Commission’s concern that the use of
school facilities for campaign
speech could be an indirect
use of public funds for political
advertising, permitting signage
at times and places other than
polling sites on election day
may not be advisable. Check
with your superintendent
about the policy for posting
campaign signs for your school
district prior to doing so.
At polling sites on elec-
tion day: Campaign signs are
not allowed within 100 feet of
the exterior doors to polling
sites: “A person other than an
election officer commits an of-
fense if the person posts a sign,
card, poster, or similar material
at a polling place, including
the area within 100 feet of an
outside door through which a
voter may enter the building
in which the polling place is
located.” 34 Signs are typically
permitted outside that area in
accordance with local policy.
TASB Policy GKDA(LOCAL)
indicates that prior review is
not needed before a campaign
sign is posted on school prop-
erty on a day when the campus
is being used as a polling site.
Campuses can make addition-
al, reasonable time, place, and
manner restrictions. However,
unless such restrictions are
made and communicated by
the campus in advance with
the advice and consent of the
district’s central administra-
tion and legal counsel, signs
should be removed only if they
are disruptive to the conduct
of classes or causing a safety
1Tex. Elec. Code § 141.001.
2Tex. Elec. Code § 11.002.
3Tex. Elec. Code § 141.001(a)( 5).
4Tex. Elec. Code § 1.015(a).
5Tex. Elec. Code § 1.015 (c)-(d).
6State v. Fischer, 769 S. W.2d 619 (Tex.
App.—Corpus Christi 1989, writ dism’d
w.o.j.), (rehearing of writ of error over-
7See Mills v. Bartlett, 375 S. W.2d 940 (Tex.
Civ. App.—Tyler 1964), aff’d, 377 S. W.2d
636 (Tex. 1964) (holding that evidence
supported a finding of residency for
candidate who lived in county six months
before election and subsequently moved
elsewhere to finish school); Garza v. Sali-
nas, 434 S. W.2d 153 (Tex. Civ. App.—San
Antonio 1968, no writ) (holding that an
absentee ballot lacking the required signa-
ture is void); Atkins v. Thomas, 407 S. W.2d
234 (Tex. Civ. App.—Austin 1966, no writ)
(holding that a single woman who lived
with parents during vacations and holidays
has voting residence in parent’s county);
Guerra v. Pena, 406 S. W.2d 769 (Tex.
Civ. App.—San Antonio 1966 no writ)
(holding that contestants failed to make
prima facie case of illegality to justify the
court’s examination of medical certificates
pertaining to challenged absentee voters).
8Op. Tex. Att’y Gen. No. H-70 (1973).
9Op. Tex. Att’y Gen. No. GA-104 (2003).
10Tex. Gov’t Code §§ 573.002, .041.
11Tex. Gov’t Code § 573.041.
12Tex. Gov’t Code § 573.062(a)(1).
13Tex. Gov’t Code § 573.062(a)( 2)(A).
14Tex. Gov’t Code § 573.062(a)( 2)(B).
15Op. Tex. Att’y Gen. No. JC-185 (2000)
(applying the continuous employment
exception to a “permanent substitute”).
16Tex. Att’y Gen. LO-96-015 (1996);
see also Op. Tex. Att’y Gen. No. JC-442
(2001) (concluding that retired teacher
has broken his or her employment with
the district and does not qualify for the
continuous employment exception).
17Tex. Educ. Code § 11.055; Tex. Elec.
Code § 144.005.
18Tex. Elec. Code § 141.032.
19Tex. Elec. Code § 141.032.
20Tex. Elec. Code §§ 252.001, 253.031.
21See “Campaign Finance Guide for Can-
didates and Officeholders Who File with
Local Filing Authorities” (2011), from the
Texas Ethics Commission at www.ethics.
state.tx.us (provides a summary of re-
quirements regarding campaign treasurer
appointments, political contributions and
expenditures and filing obligations).
22Tex. Elec. Code § 252.005.
23Tex. Elec. Code § 251.001(1).
24Tex. Elec. Code § 251.001(1)(A)-(H).
25Tex. Elec. Code § 253.031.
26Tex. Elec. Code § 253.033.
27Tex. Elec. Code § 251.001 ( 16).
28Tex. Elec. Code §§ 251.001( 16),
29See, e.g., Op. Tex. Ethics Comm’n No.
443 (2002) (concluding that Section
255.003 would be violated by using a
school employee to place a trustee’s cam-
paign flyers in the teachers’ lounge); Tex.
Ethics Comm’n Sworn Complaint Order
No. SC-210541 (2001) (finding trustee
violated Section 255.003 by sending two
letters supporting his reelection to school
employees’ internal mailboxes).
30Tex. Elec. Code § 255.0031(a).
31A Short Guide to the Prohibition against
Using Political Subdivision Resources for
Political Advertising in Connection with
an Election (2009), from the Texas Ethics
Commission at www.ethics.state.tx.us.
32See, e.g., Op. Tex. Ethics Comm’n No.
321 (1996) (determining that a sitting
judge did not violate the law by sending
campaign solicitations on letterhead that
she had purchased herself, but that identi-
fied her position).
33Tex. Gov’t Code §§ 551.001( 4)(A)(defin-
ing a meeting of a governmental body),
.002 (requiring all meetings to take place
in public), .041 (requiring all meetings to
34Tex. Elec. Code § 62.013(b).
Cristina Ruiz Blanton is a staff attorney with TASB Legal Services.