May 7, 2009

California Supreme Court Hears San Leandro Mailbox Case

On May 5, 2009, the California Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that pits the San Leandro Teachers Association (SLTA) against the San Leandro Unified School District.

At issue is the use of School District mailboxes by the SLTA to distribute union newsletters that included endorsements of School Board candidates Stephen Cassidy and John Franke for the November 2004 election. The School District objected to distribution of the newsletters containing the political endorsements, citing section 7054 of the California Education Code, which states, "No school district funds, services, supplies, or equipment shall be used for the purpose of urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure or candidate."

The SLTA filed suit and won in Superior Court. The School District appealed and prevailed in the First District Court of Appeals.

A decision is due by August 3, 2009.

The listing on the California Supreme Court calendar reads:

San Leandro Teachers Assn. et al. v. Governing Board of the San Leandro School
District et al., S156961

#07-446 San Leandro Teachers Assn. et al. v. Governing Board of the San Leandro
School District et al., S156961. (A114679; 154 Cal.App.4th 866; Superior Court of Alameda County; RG05235795.) Petition for review after the Court of Appeal reversed the judgment in an action for writ of administrative mandate. This case presents the following issues: (1) Does Education Code section 7054 permit a school district to prohibit the teachers union from using the school‟s mailboxes to distribute a union newsletter to its members, if the newsletter includes endorsements for school board candidates? (2) Does the guarantee of liberty of speech in California Constitution, article I, section 2, assure that an employee organization may distribute its message to its members concerning electoral politics via school mailboxes?

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at May 7, 2009 10:03 PM | TrackBack
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