Members of the Riverside-Brookfield Township High School District 208 Board of Education say that they had no role in the decision by the school’s television station, RBTV, to produce and broadcast a spot urging a yes vote in the upcoming referendum.
“There was no board action to authorize that,” said District 208 school board President James Marciniak. “There was no board discussion of it beforehand. I was not aware of its existence until I heard about it sitting in the Komarek forum last Wednesday night.”
Marciniak said that he did not know of the spot before last week even though even though his wife, Lisa, chairs the community outreach committee of Communities United for RBHS District 208, the group campaigning for passage of the referendum.
“It was a surprise to me, but as a board member it got me thinking we need to have a better understanding of this situation,” Marciniak said.
Marciniak called the spot that ran on RBTV for a couple of weeks “questionable.”
State law prohibits using public resources to advocate for votes for or against a referendum.
“It’s a serious situation, and I don’t think the board should condone violations of the law. And when we think they might have occurred, we’re inclined to investigate,” Marciniak said.
Marciniak refused to say whether he participated in conversations with District 208 Interim Superintendent David Bonnette and the school district’s attorney last week about the spot.
“I don’t have a comment on that,” Marciniak said.
On Friday Bonnette ordered RBTV to take the ad off the air permanently after consulting with the school district’s attorney.
– Bob Skolnik