Talk about picking up where I left off. On Wednesday I shared the story of Adams 12 taxpayer Joseph Hein, from his daughter’s difficult confrontation with a schoolhouse bully to his own experience having to be escorted for his own protection away from union bullies at a school board meeting. At the end of last week’s post I noted:
Now he and other district residents have begun pushing for district-union negotiations to be open and transparent, so taxpayers and teachers can see what’s being negotiated, to be informed and act accordingly.
Well, that very night Mr. Hein made just such a case in his public comment to the Adams 12 school board:
To his credit, he calmly and confidently requested that the school board and the union agree to release the records of prior bargaining sessions and to hold future sessions in public view.
According to Article 4.1.7 of the collective bargaining agreement between Adams 12 Board of Education and the District Twelve Educators Association (DTEA), “both parties” must mutually agree to introduce that kind of transparency. Based on the applause Hein received from numerous teachers in the audience — quite a contrast to his reception at the previous meeting — it sure looks like there may be interest from both sides.
Interestingly, the Adams 12 human resources director was quoted in my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow’s 2010 report on the topic, saying that citizens’ “limited understanding” of the process might lead open negotiations to break down into “political grandstanding.”
But that’s not what happened when open negotiations was adopted earlier this year in Douglas County. In a somewhat similar scenario, a concerned parent led the charge for union negotiation transparency. The Douglas County Federation quickly embraced open negotiations.
Given the vocal support from some District 12 teachers at last Wednesday’s Board meeting, might we expect DTEA and its Colorado Education Association state officials to follow the example and embrace the sunshine there, too?