All too often the ink is barely dry on a proposed teachers’ union (or support staff) contract before it is voted on by a school board. Thanks to legislation recently passed by the House that could change.
The bill, HB 1741, would require school boards to provide forty-eight hours notice to the public on the proposed terms of the contract. This notice would give taxpayers with an opportunity to review the costs of the contracts. In addition, they could as ask questions of school board members as it relates to the impact on the district’s budget and other costs that the taxpayers will ultimately bear.
In theory, the school board should be negotiating the best contracts possible for taxpayers. However, the teachers’ union has taken an active role in the election of school board members for decades. Essentially, the teachers’ union is now sitting on both sides of the bargaining table when it comes to contract negotiations. Without someone looking out for the best interest of local taxpayers, it should come as no surprise that property taxes have skyrocketed.
It is worth noting that the legislation originally required a two week notice before the contract could be approved. That time frame was shortened to forty-eight hours. Given the complexity of contracts, we would suggest extending the public review period to one week.
While forty-eight hours (or one week) notice will not solve the problem of irresponsible labor agreements, it may discourage some of the worst abuses.
If you think that taxpayers deserve a chance to review teachers’ union and other school district contract before they are approved, we would encourage you to contact your Senator today.
Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania (CAP) is a non-profit organization founded to raise the standard of living of all Pennsylvanians by restoring limited government, economic freedom, and personal responsibility. By empowering the Commonwealth’s employers and taxpayers to break state government’s "Iron Triangle" of career politicians, bureaucrats, and Big Government lobbyists, this restoration will occur and Pennsylvania will prosper.
Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania | P.O. Box 6726 | Harrisburg | PA | 17112