Adams 12 Interview Raises Case to Stop Underwriting Union Officers

I love anniversaries, don’t you? Exactly one year ago I commented on a front-page Denver Post story documenting the use of taxpayer-funded union release time in Colorado school districts. Without taking a comprehensive look, the Post reporter found $5.8 million in subsidies to teacher unions.

So on this not-quite-historic 1st anniversary, it’s interesting to see a new video posted of a recent interview with one of the union officers paid by taxpayers to take leave from the classroom. In the Spotlight on Corruption production, the District Twelve Educators Association (DTEA) official discloses some of what she does:

Teacher Union Organizer Caught "Off Camera" by jraiffie

The video was recorded at a union-organized protest of the Adams 12 school board’s decision to ask teachers to pay more of their retirement contributions — effectively, a 2 percent pay cut made to address a real budget shortfall. As far as interesting timing goes, the Adams 12 board meets again this evening to discuss the very issue and to pose some strong, thoughtful challenges to union officials. Spotlight on Corruption says: “If you only attend one school board meeting in your life this should be the one!”

If for no other reason, as many reform-minded citizens as possible ought to attend to discourage the kind of threatening behavior that occurred at a September board meeting. At that meeting, security officials had to escort two parents away for their protection. Why? They dared not to support the union’s views in their public comments.

Maybe tonight someone will address the issue of taxpayer funds underwriting union officers rather than directly supporting students in the classroom. As my Education Policy Center friends noted, the Adams 12 school district alone “released three local union officers [in 2009-10] at a cost of $187,218 in salaries and benefits not reimbursed.” Maybe now, Colorado’s fifth-largest school district has a board tired of business as usual and prepared to strive for something better.