Ethics and Gift Ban
Unless otherwise stated, all terms used in this policy have the
definition given in the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, 5 ILCS
“Compensated time" means any time worked by or credited to an
employee that counts toward any minimum work time requirement imposed as
a condition of his or her employment, but, for purposes of this Policy,
does not include any designated holidays, vacation periods, personal
time, compensatory time off, or any period when the employee is on leave
of absence. Although they are not compensated, Members of the Board of
Education as officers under this Policy’s definition, are prohibited
from engaging in political activity while performing their official
duties (i.e., attending Board meetings, Board committee meetings, and
other official activities of the Board).
“Gift” means any gratuity, discount, entertainment, hospitality,
loan, forbearance, or other tangible or intangible item having monetary
value including but not limited to, cash, food and drink, and honoraria
for speaking engagements related to or attributable to government
employment of the official position of a member of the Board of
Education or employee.
“Officer” means a person who holds, by election or appointment, an
office created by statute, regardless of whether the office is
compensated for service in his or her official capacity. The term
“officer” includes members of the school board, and, for simplicity this
Policy refers to the conduct of members of the Board of Education
rather than officers. Any prohibition or limitation on conduct of
Members of the Board of Education set forth in this Policy shall also
apply to any other person holding an officer position with respect to
“Political” means any activity in support of or in connection with
any campaign for elective office or any political organization, but does
not include activities (1) relating to the support or opposition of any
executive, legislative, or administrative action; (2) relating to
collective bargaining; or (3) that are otherwise in furtherance of the
person’s official duties or governmental and public service functions.
“Prohibited political activity” means:
- Preparing for, organizing, or participating in any political
meeting, political rally, political demonstration, or other political
- Soliciting contributions, including but not limited to the purchase
of, selling, distributing, or receiving payment for tickets for any
political fundraiser, political meeting, or other political event.
- Soliciting, planning the solicitation of, or preparing any document
or report regarding anything of value intended as a campaign
- Planning, conducting, or participating in a public opinion poll in
connection with a campaign for elective office or on behalf of a
political organization for political purposes or for or against any
- Surveying or gathering information from potential or actual voters
in an election to determine probable vote outcome in connection with a
campaign for elective office or on behalf of a political organization
for political purposes or for or against any referendum question.
- Assisting at the polls on Election Day on behalf of any political
organization or candidate for elective office or for or against any
- Soliciting votes on behalf of a candidate for elective office or a
political organization or for or against any referendum question or
helping in an effort to get voters to the polls.
- Initiating for circulation, preparing, circulating, reviewing, or
filing any petition on behalf of a candidate for elective office or for
or against any referendum question.
- Making contributions on behalf of any candidate for elective office
in that capacity or in connection with a campaign for elective office.
- Preparing or reviewing responses to candidate questionnaires.
- Distributing, preparing for distribution, or mailing campaign
literature, campaign signs, or other campaign material on behalf of any
candidate for elective office or for or against any referendum question.
- Campaigning for any elective office or for or against any referendum question.
- Managing or working on a campaign for elective office or for or against any referendum question.
- Serving as a delegate, alternate, or proxy to a political party convention.
- Participating in any recount or challenge to the outcome of any election.
"Prohibited source" means any person or entity who:
- Is seeking official action by: (a) a member of the Board of
Education, or (b) an employee, or by the member of the Board of
Education or another employee directing that employee;
- Does business or seeks to do business with: (a) the member of the
Board of Education, or (b) with an employee, or with the member of the
Board of Education or another employee directing that employee;
- Conducts activities regulated by: (a) the member of the Board of
Education, or (b) by an employee or by member of the Board of Education
or another employee directing that employee; or
- Has an interest that may be substantially affected by the
performance or non-performance of the official duties of the member of
the Board of Education or employee.
- Is registered or required to be registered with the Secretary of
State under the Lobbyist Registration Act, except that an entity does
not become a prohibited source merely because a registered lobbyist is
one of its members or serves on its board of directors; or
- Is an agent of, a spouse of, or an immediate family member living with a prohibited source.
Prohibited Political Activity
The following precepts govern political activities being conducted by District employees and members of the Board of Education:
- No member of the Board of Education or employee shall intentionally perform any political activity during any compensated time, as those terms are defined herein.
- No member of the Board of Education or employee shall intentionally
use any District property or resources in connection with any political
- At no time shall any member of the Board of Education or employee
intentionally require any other member of the Board of Education or
employee to perform any political activity: (a) as part of that member
of the Board of Education’s or employee’s duties, (b) as a condition of
employment, or (c) during any compensated time off, such as, holidays,
vacation, or personal time off.
- No member of the Board of Education or employee shall be required at
any time to participate in any political activity in consideration for
that member of the Board of Education or employee being awarded
additional compensation or any benefit, whether in the form of a salary
adjustment, bonus, compensatory time off, continued employment or
otherwise; nor shall any member of the Board of Education or employee be
awarded additional compensation or any benefit in consideration for his
or her participation in any political activity.
A member of the Board of Education or employee may engage in any
activity that: (1) is otherwise appropriate as part of his or her
official duties, or (2) is undertaken by the individual on a voluntary
basis that is not prohibited by this policy.
Limitations on Receiving Gifts (“Gift Ban”)
Except as permitted by this policy, no member of the Board of
Education or employee, and no spouse of or immediate family member
living with a member of the Board of Education or employee, shall
intentionally solicit or accept any gift from any prohibited source,
as those terms are defined in this policy, or that is otherwise
prohibited by law or policy. No prohibited source shall intentionally
offer or make a gift that violates this policy.
The following are exceptions to the ban on accepting gifts from a prohibited source:
- Opportunities, benefits, and services that are available on the same conditions as for the general public.
- Anything for which the member of the Board of Education or employee,
or his or her spouse or immediate family member, pays the fair market
- Any: (a) contribution that is lawfully made under the Election Code,
or (b) activities associated with a fund-raising event in support of a
political organization or candidate.
- Educational materials and missions.
- Travel expenses for a meeting to discuss business.
- A gift from a relative, meaning those people related to the
individual as father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle,
aunt, great aunt, great uncle, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband,
wife, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, granddaughter, father-in-law,
mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law,
sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter,
stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister, and including the
father, mother, grandfather, or grandmother of the individual's spouse
and the individual's fiancé or fiancée.
- Anything provided by an individual on the basis of a personal
friendship unless the recipient has reason to believe that, under the
circumstances, the gift was provided because of the official position or
employment of the recipient or his or her spouse or immediate family
member and not because of the personal friendship. In determining
whether a gift is provided on the basis of personal friendship, the
recipient shall consider the circumstances under which the gift was
offered, such as: (a) the history of the relationship between the
individual giving the gift and the recipient of the gift, including any
previous exchange of gifts between those individuals; (b) whether to the
actual knowledge of the recipient the individual who gave the gift
personally paid for the gift or sought a tax deduction or business
reimbursement for the gift; and (c) whether to the actual knowledge of
the recipient the individual who gave the gift also at the same time
gave the same or similar gifts to other members of the Board of
Education or employees, or their spouses or immediate family members.
- Food or refreshments not exceeding $75 per person in value on a
single calendar day; provided that the food or refreshments are: (a)
consumed on the premises from which they were purchased or prepared; or
(b) catered. "Catered" means food or refreshments that are purchased
ready to consume which are delivered by any means.
- Food, refreshments, lodging, transportation, and other benefits
resulting from outside business or employment activities (or outside
activities that are not connected to the official duties of a member of
the Board of Education or employee), if the benefits have not been
offered or enhanced because of the official position or employment of
the member of the Board of Education or employee, and are customarily
provided to others in similar circumstances.
- Intra-governmental and inter-governmental gifts.
"Intra-governmental gift" means any gift given to a member of the Board
of Education or employee from another member of the Board of Education
or employee, and "inter-governmental gift" means any gift given to a
member of the Board of Education or employee by an officer or employee
of another governmental entity.
- Bequests, inheritances, and other transfers at death.
- Any item or items from any one prohibited source during any calendar year having a cumulative total value of less than $100.
Each of the listed exceptions is mutually exclusive and independent of every other.
A member of the Board of Education or employee, his or her spouse or
an immediate family member living with the member of the Board of
Education or employee, does not violate this policy if the recipient
promptly takes reasonable action to return a gift from a prohibited
source to its source or gives the gift or an amount equal to its value
to an appropriate charity that is exempt from income taxation under
Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
The Board President and Superintendent shall seek guidance from the
Board attorney concerning compliance with and enforcement of this policy
and State ethics laws. The Board may, as necessary or prudent, appoint
an Ethics Advisor for this task.
Written complaints alleging a violation of this policy shall be filed
with the Superintendent or Board President. If attempts to correct any
misunderstanding or problem do not resolve the matter, the
Superintendent or Board President shall, after consulting with the Board
attorney, either place the alleged violation on a Board meeting agenda
for the Board’s disposition or refer the complainant to Board policy
2:260, Uniform Grievance Procedures. A member of the Board of Education
who is related, either by blood or by marriage, up to the degree of
first cousin, to the person who is the subject of the complaint, shall
not participate in any decision-making capacity for the Board. If the
Board finds it more likely than not that the allegations in a complaint
are true, it shall notify the State’s Attorney and/or consider
disciplinary action for the employee.
Adopted: July 26, 2004; Revised: February 22, 2016