Hayward school trustee used district resources for his recent council campaign

Hayward school board member John Taylor is alleged
to have misused school funds for his council campaign.

HAYWARD | Hayward school board member John Taylor improperly used the school district’s print shop to design and produce campaign materials for his recent run for the city council, according to an investigation by the Hayward school district.

The investigation into the conduct of Superintendent Stan “Data” Dobbs for a number allegations leading to him being placed on paid administrative leave also found Taylor used school district resources for his own benefit, School Board President Lisa Brunner, announced Saturday during a special meeting of the board.

Taylor’s use of the district’s print shop appears to have occurred on several occasions over the past two years, said Brunner. “As soon as this information came to our attention, we took immediate action,” said Brunner, and district employees were told to refrain from using the equipment for unrelated projects, she added.

Taylor attended Saturday’s special meeting, but did not address the specific allegations. In a statement read at the meeting, Brunner said Taylor admitted to using the district print shop for his council campaign, and that they were later reimbursed for the work.

The school district’s administrative code and state law prohibit political campaigns from “using district equipment for the preparation or reproduction of political campaign materials, even if the district is reimbursed.” According to Brunner, Taylor said he was unaware the arrangement between the print shop and his council campaign was illegal.

At this time, the school board has not put a possible price tag on the amount of work the print shop performed for Taylor’s council campaign. But, the type of work believed to have been done–possibly yard signs and glossy mailers, including labor–can be expensive.

Taylor’s final campaign finance report issued this week, for instance, shows his council campaign spent $5,792 during the final month of the June council race, which included $2,785 for yard signs and door hangers. But curiously these were the only expenditures made during the entire campaign, according to records.

If the additional printing expenses from the school district were not included in his campaign finance reports, the violation could also put him at risk for a fine down the line from state Fair Political Practices Commission.

Dobbs reportedly denied knowing about Taylor’s council campaign use of the district print shop. However, the two have strong ties going back to Dobbs’ return to Hayward, following a brief departure for San Diego. Dobbs was originally listed as the campaign treasurer for Taylor’s council campaign, shortly after he announced his run for Hayward City Council last year.

In the June council race for four open seats, Taylor finished a distant sixth out of 10 candidates. Taylor is up for re-election for his school board seat in November.

NOTE: Taylor’s admission was added after publication.

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