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School Governance Charter Amendment Act of 2000
Special Election
June 27, 2000

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map of election resultsAt a special election on June 27, 2000, the sole subject was Charter Amendment III, “The School Governance Charter Amendment Act of 2000.” The Amendment passed by a vote of 20,511 to 19,668, winning 48 precincts and losing 92 precincts.

The full language of the Amendment is contained in City Council Bill 13-469. The ballot language that was approved by the Board of Elections and Ethics appears here.

Supporters of the Amendment decided to use taxpayer funds, government workers, government facilities, and government supplies to campaign for the Amendment.

  • The Office of Campaign Finance filed a brief in reply to Mayor Williams's appeal on August 9, 2000
  • The Corporation Counsel issued an opinion that this is legal because it is “lobbying” rather than campaigning was issued on May 25, 2000; this opinion was made public on June 8, 2000.
  • On June 9, 2000, DCWatch filed a formal complaint with the Board of Elections and the Office of Campaign Finance about the illegal use of government workers and resources in an election campaign.
  • The Office of Campaign Finance accepted this complaint for investigation on June 12, 2000.
  • On June 12, DCWatch sent related letters to Council Chairman Linda Cropp and Councilmember Kathy Patterson.
  • On June 14, DCWatch also filed a supplemental complaint with the Office of Campaign Finance, which added further details and revealed that the Mayor had established a second, secret campaign account that had already raised $80,000 at DC Agenda.
  • On June 16, 2000, the Office of Campaign Finance issued an order forbidding the Mayor from using taxpayer funds, government workers, government supplies, and government facilities in this campaign.
  • Both DCWatch and the Mayor’s office issued press releases on the OCF order.
  • On June 19, DCWatch filed two supplemental complaints giving further information about fundraising activities by DC Agenda and adding information about further campaign activities by the Mayor’s Office of Religious Affairs.
  • On June 20, OCF responded that it was launching a preliminary investigation of DC Agenda’s fundraising activities, and on July 5, 2000, DCWatch provided additional information on that complaint.
  • On June 30, the Corporation Counsel appealed the OCF’s order, claiming again that the Mayor had a First Amendment right to use government employees and resources to campaign.
  • On July 10, DCWatch filed a preliminary motion asking that the appeal be dismissed, on the grounds that it is a conflict of interest for the Corporation Counsel, the attorney for the government of the District of Columbia to represent a government official against the government.
  • On July 11, DCWatch filed an ethics complaint against the Corporation Counsel with the DC Bar Office of the Bar Counsel.
  • On July 7, Councilmember Kathy Patterson asked Mayor Williams for an accounting of all public funds that were spent on the election.
  • On July 7, the final results of the special election were announced, including absentee and special ballots. The final count was 20,511 for, 19,668 against, a difference of 843 votes. Mayor Williams issued a statement on the outcome that day.
  • On August 9, 2000, DCWatch filed a brief in reply to the Corporation Counsel's appeal to the Board of Elections and Ethics.
  • On August 25, 2000, the Corporation Counsel filed a reply brief to the DCWatch and OCF briefs of August 9, 2000.
  • On September 6, 2000, the Board of Elections and Ethics voted unanimously to reject the Mayor’s appeal and to uphold the OCF order.

On June 22, Dino Drudi applied for and received a temporary restraining order preventing the votes in this election from being counted. Drudi had previously complained to the Board of Elections and Ethics that the City Council had not properly passed the underlying legislation, since it did not have the required two readings of the bill, but the Board said that it did not have jurisdiction to address that issue. (The Council had previously had readings of other versions of the bill, but major changes were made in all three versions of the bill, and the final version of the bill received just one reading. The Council argued that it had complied with the legislative requirement that the two reading of the bill be “in substantially the same form” means only that the versions of the bill deal with the same subject matter.) The Court of Appeals vacated the restraining order on June 24, 2000, and the Superior Court denied the motion.

  • Drudi complaint, June 22, 2000
    • Motion for preliminary injunction, June 22, 2000
    • Order by Superior Court of the District of Columbia (preliminary injunction), June 22, 2000
    • Press releases responding to Court decision by New School Leadership Committee, Council Chair Linda Cropp, and Mayor Anthony Williams, June 23, 2000
    • Emergency Motion of Appeallants for Summary Reversal and Request for Expedition and Oral Argument, June 23, 2000
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals Judgment, June 24, 2000
    • Apellee’s petition for rehearing en banc, June 26, 2000
    • Order of Judge John H. Bayly, Jr., Superior Court, July 13, 2000
  • Drudi complaint to the Board of Elections and Ethics, April 28, 2000

Campaign Materials for the Amendment

Campaign Materials against the Amendment

  • Article by Phil Blair, Washington Peace Letter, June 2000
  • June Vote No on the School Governance Charter Amendment, Gary Imhoff, June 2000
  • DC Citizens to Support Our Children and Preserve Our Elected School Board flyer, June 2000
  • Missionary Baptist Ministers Conference of Washington, DC & Vicinity statement, June 26, 2000
  • Statement by Councilmember Carol Schwartz, June 26, 2000
  • Just Vote No! flyer, June 8, 2000

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