SAN FRANCISCO, March 18 (Reuters) - California’s treasurer asked the state’s attorney general on Monday for a formal opinion on the legality of school and community college districts’ plans to put bond measures on ballots obtaining election-related services from underwriters of the debt.
Services may include organizing public meetings about bond measures, conducting voter opinion surveys and preparing ballot arguments, the letter by State Treasurer Bill Lockyer to Attorney General Kamala Harris said.
“These arrangements raise substantive questions about whether school districts’ officials have violated state law by using public funds for campaign services related to advocating the passage of bond measures,” Lockyer, the state’s former attorney general, said in the letter.
Lockyer spokesman Tom Dresslar said such tie-ups merit review by California’s top law enforcement officer.
“It doesn’t have the appearance of propriety,” Dresslar said. “It doesn’t speak well of the integrity of the school bond process.”
School bonds in California came under increased scrutiny last year after it came to light that a San Diego-area school district will pay nearly $1 billion for a $105 million loan through a capital appreciation bond deal.