An investigation by the school board’s legal counsel has concluded that Evanston District 65 board member Candance Chow and some school employees violated the prohibition in the board’s ethics policy’s against using school resources for political activity.

The investigation found that Chow, when she was a candidate in the March state representative primary, used district property or resources, specifically her district issued email address, for political activity. Chow also had a five-minute phone call with a district employee about information for her candidate questionnaire.

The investigation found that Chow did “not intend to influence any employee’s political activity,” but her actions did put employees in an awkward position.

The report found technical violations by school district employees in using school resources and conducting political activity by reading and forwarding email messages during compensated time.  While district employees had signed an acknowledgement that they had reviewed the board’s policies, the district had “not provided employees with previous training on the ethics policy.”

The report does not recommend school board action against Chow because the board has little disciplinary power and Chow’s actions “appear merely careless” rather than designed to misuse school resources. It does, however, recommend training for employees and board members “annually and in advance of, and periodically throughout, any election season, including board member elections.”

The investigation, conducted by the district’s legal counsel FranzekRadelet, included reviewing email messages and interviewing Chow and 17 district employees.

The report was reviewed by the board at its meeting Monday. At the meeting, Chow said she did not intentionally misuse district resources and apologized for the mistakes that were made by her campaign.

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D65 to investigate campaign email issue

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  1. Is that all?

    Since Chow was named and her violations were listed, why are the other 19 people and their violations not listed? It seems like the fair thing to do. It is also a misuse of taxpayer money. Whether it is property or time that was misused, there should be some compensation to the school district. Ignorance of the rules is not a good excuse. I am not say that all of these employees be terminated. That would be in the judgement of the D65 administration.

    1. I worked in the district in
      I worked in the district in 2008, 2012 and 2016 and saw many many employees using their district laptops to campaign for Obama, Clinton, various other democrats, as well as for school board members at various points.

  2. Amateur Chow vs the Professional Gong-Gershowitz
    Chow’s amateur rookie mistake was unfortunate. What’s even more unfortunate is that Chow lost the primary by 600 votes to the Madigan-backed Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz. Gong-Gershowitz is a major stinker who had the money to hire professionals who know how the game is played. Gong-Gershowitz spent $700k to get 7,620 votes. $400,000 of her $700k came from committees loyal to Madigan. Another “pay to play” victory for Illinois politics.

    1. Chow Supporters Can NOT Vote for Gong-Gershowitz
      Agreed. We can only hope the Chow supporters let their voices be heard in November by not supporting the candidate they have called unethical and beholden to the corrupt party machine.

      We all agree we need change in Springfield — the status quo is simply not sustainable — and this will be a litmus test.

    2. Follow the “Money Trail”
      While politics is a sharp elbowed endeavor, people should know all the facts and understand the character of the candidates.

      Jen Gong-Gershowitz spent an enormous sum of money, $700,000, to “win” the March Democratic primary. And voters should know where this money
      came from. Illinois Sunshine – and other State filings reveal the following:

      Only $23,000 or 3% came from individuals in the 17th District
      $100,000 came directly from Madigan controlled organizations including the Democratic Majority and Friends of Michael J. Madigan
      $400,000 came from 8 current State Representatives of which $359,000 was received on one day, March 13th, 1 week before the election
      $93,000 from PACs – many with ties to Madigan
      $145,000 from Individuals of which $60,000 was out of state, $63,000 from out of district from people living in Illinois and $23,000 from people living in the 17th District

      Those are the facts.

      The “Money Trail” clearly shows that Gong-Gershowitz will be beholden to MIke Madigan. That’s my opinion.

      Voters have a lot to consider this November.

      1. purloined paperclips

        My bet is that if the investigators probed a little deeper they would find that Ms. Chow purloined a few paperclips as well. Stuart Opdycke

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