District 218 Says 'No' to Campaign Donations

May 26, 2011
Oak Lawn Patch

Question of ethics raised by a Patch report that Bloom Trail High School donated to the South Chicago Heights mayor's campaign fund.

By Dan Lambert

Should a school district be donating money to a political campaign?

That's the question raised by a south suburban school district's contributions to a local mayor with money earned through the school's pop machines. Whether those donations are illegal, or merely unethical, depends on how you interpret "public funds" under state law.

Bloom Trail High School donated to the South Chicago Heights mayor's campaign fund for the last four years, according to a report on Chicago Heights Patch, giving at least $200 to "Citizens for Dave Owen" every January since 2008. This year, the amount increased to $250.

District 206 Supt. Glen Giannetti told Patch he made the contributions, and that he sees nothing wrong with using the money this way because vending machine revenue is a "discretionary fund." But it's possible the superintendent could be violating the State Election Code or the 2003 Ethics Act — or both.