Creeden clarifies stand on flyer, other issues

Mike Creeden​​​​​​ of Laurel
Thursday, May 30, 2019

I want to thank the Laurel Outlook for attending the Laurel School Board meeting on May 20, and reporting on it. I want to clarify the following: 1) The Laurel PTA created the flyers using their own time and labor. There is no violation of law for their service. 2) The Laurel School District gave open access to the PTA to send flyers advocating passage of the mill levy.

Without reviewing the flyers sent home, the District allowed District employee time to advocate a position of a mill levy which violated MCA 2-2-121 (3).

In the mill levy vote of 2014, the School Board had the District’s attorney review the fact sheet about the district reserve fund levy sent to taxpayers. I simply asked the District to provide the same review of this election. On the 20th the Board had discussion to not move forward with a legal review similar to 2014. The Board made its decision known and I must follow suit.

I would like the residents of the Laurel School District to know, asking for a legal review of the mill levy election is not unethical. Asking is the right thing to do. Only a week before I had been sworn into office by stating, “… I will support, protect, and defend the constitution of The United States, and the constitution of the state of Montana …” By asking the Board to consider a review of the violation of the law, I have upheld the duty required of my oath.

To those who state my that my first duty is to the school, I point to the Constitution of Montana - Article X which states, “It is the goal of the people to establish a system of education which will develop the full educational potential of each person.” By taking the oath of office, I am supporting our school.

Please know that there are other issues you should be aware of. 1) The School Board violated my right to participate in public comment section of the May 20 meeting (MCA 2-3-103). 2) A Board committee on May 21 met in private to discuss an issue without the opportunity for the public to view or participate. There was no issue of individual privacy to allow the committee members to meet in private (MCA 2-3-203). 3) The District violated state law by changing the early release dates last week by not soliciting input from the people who live in the District about the change in the school day and did not vote on the change (MCA 20-1-302).

I will continue to serve the residents of the District by identifying ways the Board can better serve our residents. If I must bring to the Board what I view are violations of the law, I will. I only hope the Board takes actions to correct them. I will act to have as much transparency in government as possible. This is right and just.

Mike Creeden​​​​​​ of Laurel

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