Some upset over use of robo calls

October 19, 2010 9:08:01 PM PDT
An automated phone call --dubbed by many as robo calls-- sent out by the Chapel Hill school system has some parents up in arms.On Monday night, a message was sent out to every parent in the school system letting them know that this November; a quarter-cent sales tax increase is up for vote in Orange County.

If it passes, a good chunk of that money will go to the county's schools --funds the schools system says is needed.

The district says the phone call wasn't political, but others say they believe it crossed the line by using the automated phone call system that is paid for with tax payer money to get more 'yes' votes on the ballot.

One parent wrote in an e-mail to ABC11 Eyewitness News that, "this has to be the boldest misuse of a taxpayer paid system that I can recall."

However, other parents say they have no problem with the use of the system.

"It doesn't really bother me because the schools need the money and I don't really find it political as much something that affects the schools," parent Tiffany Mcginnis said.

The school system defends the call, saying it wasn't political and only provided families with information about the tax.

"It at no time says vote for the sales tax referendum, it simply encourages to be good citizens and participate in the election process," Assistant to Superintendent Stephanie Knott said.

Knott says the superintendent's office made the decision to send the message under state law and says the call wasn't illegal.

They say they will send another robo call like Monday's out to parents closer to the election.

In the meantime, the school system says parents can opt out of the robo calls, but by choosing not receive the calls about the sales tax, parents have to opt out of all automated calls from the school.

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