UPDATE: Jack Bernfeld, executive director for the REA-REAA, said palm cards were distributed to their union members prior to the work day starting on Monday. Students weren't in school on Monday because it was a staff development day. The cards reminded people to vote and listed the three incumbents names, which the REA Political Action Committee endorses.
"We weren’t doing this during work time and we communicate with our members in a variety of ways," he said. "I’m not aware of anything happening on Friday. I’m not sure if individuals were doing it, or if there was something else going on, but we were not as an organizations in the schools on Friday."
Bernfeld said they did the same thing in 2005 when they endorsed Dey.
ORIGINAL STORY: A Racine Unified School Board candidate is disappointed that teachers passed out postcards on school grounds endorsing incumbent candidates.
The candidate, Brian Dey, emailed Superintendent Ann Laing Tuesday about the issue. He says teachers passed out postcards at schools, when students had a three-hour early release on Fri., Feb. 17.
“It’s my understanding that union members were handing out postcards supporting three incumbents in the primary in several northside schools on Friday,” Dey said. “The policy is not supposed to be campaigning on school grounds or on school time.”
Dey has gone through something similar when he ran in 2005. A special interest group mailed out their campaign endorsements to the community and a question was raised about whether the mailing was really an endorsement, but a ruling was never made in the Racine County Circuit Court it was filed in, he said.
“All politicking stops on school grounds,” Dey said. “If the administration knows it’s going on and they are not enforcing it…. it only fuels the fire with the people who are not happy with the district.”
But in an email Laing sent to Dey this morning, she explained that she was not aware of what had transpired. However, she said she would “reinforce the policy.”
“The policy does state staff cannot engage in political activity on work time; however, staff cannot be prohibited from discussing political issues before and after school time or on their lunch period. Freedom of speech covers their personal time,” she sated.
Calls made to the Racine Education Association were not returned.