Commissioner questions legality of controversial CMS flier

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CHARLOTTE —

A flier handed out by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is raising some questions. The flier addresses a proposed sales tax hike on the November ballot and how it could help the district.

Channel 9 spoke with a county commissioner who is upset about the flier, even calling it illegal.

“It’s pretty clear that their intent is to break North Carolina law,” said Commissioner Bill James. “You can’t use government resources to promote any side pro or con in a ballot initiative.”

The flier is on the CMS website, and James said it was handed out at the South Mecklenburg football game Friday night.

When questioned about the flier on Twitter, the district said it “Honestly had no idea, and was checking on it.”

Later, a spokesperson told Channel 9 the flier had been reviewed by their general counsel. The school system released a statement saying:

"The item referred to in your inquiry is a CMS informational item encouraging citizens to exercise [their] constitutional right to vote. It further shares information about how funding resources may be expended.”

In the top right hand corner of the flier it says Mecklenburg County will give 80 percent of the expected revenue from the tax increase to CMS.

“They want to sell it to people who supports schools or the arts or whatever by saying ‘Hey look, this is what you’re going to get’ when in reality you can't promise that,” James said.

After contacting CMS about the issue, the school system sent out a tweet with a link encouraging people to read the flier.