It's Time for Accountability for School Employee Union Leave Activities

If I’m in a class some day and the teacher has to take time off because she is sick or has some job to do to learn how to be a better teacher, that would be one thing. But getting paid to take time off on behalf of the union, well, that’s a different story.

In his new issue paper Colorado Schools and Association Release Time (PDF), my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow says that our school districts need to do much better knowing how these leave days are used — especially the paid ones, to make sure money from my parents and other hard-working citizens isn’t misused.

Like taking union release time to campaign for political candidates. That’s what happened in Fort Collins in 2004 (see here and here), and who knows how many other times and places? Do people really think this is okay? Because nobody in charge seems to be asking the questions.

Click the play button below, or follow this link, to listen to Ben discuss with Pam Benigno on an iVoices podcast why greater accountability for the tax-subsidized privilege of union release time is the least that is needed during these trying budget times:

Maybe someday Colorado might decide to follow Utah’s lead and move forward a bill prohibiting paid union release time altogether. But can’t we all agree that for now, a legislative audit and some stronger local policies would be a good idea? If enough people knew this practice was taking place in many of our school districts, I’m sure there would be an outcry for such a commonsense approach.