A Cincinnati high school trip to the polls last fall that led to allegations of partisan politics cost the city's public schools more than $16,000, according to a settlement.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the district agreed to pay the money to plaintiffs Tom Brinkman and the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) earlier this month. The district will continue field trips to polling stations, but promised not to give students partisan literature during future excursions, according to the settlement.
"The win here is when they do those trips, they will not hand out partisan literature to the kids at the polls," Chris Finney, the attorney who represented the plaintiffs, told the newspaper.
According to the settlement, the longtime teacher who organized the trip, Dennis McFadden, has retired. The district did not ask him to retire, spokeswoman Janet Walsh told the newspaper.
McFadden and other volunteers took 31 students to the Board of Elections Oct. 13 to vote, then for ice cream. Hughes High School Principal Virginia Rhodes authorized the trip.
Once there, students were given only Democratic sample ballots., violating a 2002 agreement between the district and COAST prohibits the district from using employees or property to support a candidate. The field trip violated that agreement and prompted the lawsuit, Finney said.