**Update: December 2016 Settlement Agreement between HSTA and Ethics Commission, available here.
No. 2015-1 The State Ethics Commission issued advisory opinion 2015-1, dated August 19, 2015, regarding free travel offered to DOE teachers who serve as chaperones on student educational trips. The State Ethics Code prohibits teachers from accepting free travel and other benefits from tour companies for serving as chaperones on student educational trips, where the teachers are directly involved in planning and selecting a tour company to help organize the trip, promoting the trip to students and parents, deciding who will chaperone students, and/or requesting approval for the trip. While this advisory opinion is directed toward the DOE, the State Ethics Code and the considerations raised by the free travel opportunities are applicable to charter schools. Charter schools are encouraged to call the State Ethics Commission with any questions on this matter or for advice and guidance on the State Ethics Code. The Ethics Commission can be reached at (808) 587-0460.
No. 2015-2 The State Ethics Commission issued advisory opinion No. 2015-2, dated August 19, 2015, regarding members of governing boards and employees of charter schools serving as employees of affiliated nonprofit organizations. The advisory opinion states that the conflicts of interest section of the State Ethics Code prohibits a charter school governing board member or employee from taking any official action on behalf of the charter school affecting the nonprofit organization. The State Ethics Code also prohibits members of a governing board and employees of a charter school from assisting a nonprofit organization in matters before the charter school and from acting as a representative for the nonprofit organization in its interactions with the charter school. The State Ethics Code may also be applicable in instances where a member of a governing board or an employee of a charter school is not currently an employee of the nonprofit organization but may be contemplating such employment.
All school governing boards and school administrators should review this information for reference and understanding. The State Ethics Commission strongly recommends that members of governing boards and employees of charter schools who also serve as employees of affiliated nonprofit organizations contact the Ethics Commission office for further advice. The State Ethics Commission can be reached at (808) 587-0460.