Should terms of teacher contracts be public ?

Created by Transparency Negotiations on May 7, 2014

42 votes

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Yes

No

Transparency Negotiations

Latrobe, PA

#1 May 7, 2014
Negotiations between teacher unions and school boards should be public.

The terms of collective bargaining agreements are decided in a series of closed-door meetings between union executives and school district representatives. The negotiations are secret. The public is not allowed to know the starting and ending positions of each side, what is discussed, the amount of public money involved, or what concessions each side makes. News reporters are not allowed to attend the meetings and no public hearings are held.

The records of collective bargaining meetings should be available to the taxpayers
Lucky

Pittsburgh, PA

#2 May 7, 2014
What other negotiations are handled in this manner? While the public's input has to be considered, it would not be a good practice to follow his policy in any negotiations. There are always give and take during this process.
Let the Sunshine In

Latrobe, PA

#3 May 8, 2014
Arguments for greater transparency:

Contracts with teacher unions account for about half of a district's budget and strongly influence compensation levels for other classes of employees.
The negotiating period is the only time when informed public opinion can have any possible effect on the decisions of elected officials. A mandatory public comment period on a budget is an empty exercise if its size has already been largely determined by prior contract agreements.
These are multi-year contracts whose impacts cannot be understood by examination of any single year's budget.
These contracts have long-term cost implications several times as large as those for building programs for which the law requires public hearings.
Early disclosure of each side's proposed settlement terms would reduce the incentive to open with extreme proposals made merely for bargaining purposes. Rather than prolonging negotiations and making compromise more difficult, transparency would lead to more realistic proposals and narrow the range of disagreement early in the process.
Lucky

Pittsburgh, PA

#4 May 8, 2014
Let the Sunshine In wrote:
Arguments for greater transparency:
Contracts with teacher unions account for about half of a district's budget and strongly influence compensation levels for other classes of employees.
The negotiating period is the only time when informed public opinion can have any possible effect on the decisions of elected officials. A mandatory public comment period on a budget is an empty exercise if its size has already been largely determined by prior contract agreements.
These are multi-year contracts whose impacts cannot be understood by examination of any single year's budget.
These contracts have long-term cost implications several times as large as those for building programs for which the law requires public hearings.
Early disclosure of each side's proposed settlement terms would reduce the incentive to open with extreme proposals made merely for bargaining purposes. Rather than prolonging negotiations and making compromise more difficult, transparency would lead to more realistic proposals and narrow the range of disagreement early in the process.
Again I would say that there is no other workplace that conducts negotiations in public. Any contract impacts economy as product pricing is affected. An alternative to getting contracts settled is to put emphasis on both parties. If a contract is not settled, there should be a penalty on both parties. If unions and companies(districts) had to pony up because of unrealistic demands, a change in positions would happen quickly. It would give both sides to settle a realistic contract.
Let the Sunshine In

Latrobe, PA

#5 May 8, 2014
Lucky wrote:
<quoted text>
Again I would say that there is no other workplace that conducts negotiations in public. Any contract impacts economy as product pricing is affected. An alternative to getting contracts settled is to put emphasis on both parties. If a contract is not settled, there should be a penalty on both parties. If unions and companies(districts) had to pony up because of unrealistic demands, a change in positions would happen quickly. It would give both sides to settle a realistic contract.
There is more pubic hearings with construction as a part of Plancon than negotiations of contracts.
Gram and spam

Latrobe, PA

#6 May 12, 2014
U r a spammer from the teenager think tank . A spade is a spade.
No Voice

Latrobe, PA

#7 May 14, 2014
Contracts between school districts and unions are matters of public record. The Sunshine Law is being abused !

These contracts are negotiated by board and union representatives during closed bargaining sessions. In most instances, the terms of proposed settlements are made public only at the time of a board vote. If a board votes on a proposed settlement before the full union membership has voted, the board may withhold information on contract terms until after a union vote occurs.

The taxpayers as usual are out of the equation!
Lucky

Pittsburgh, PA

#8 May 15, 2014
No Voice wrote:
Contracts between school districts and unions are matters of public record. The Sunshine Law is being abused !
These contracts are negotiated by board and union representatives during closed bargaining sessions. In most instances, the terms of proposed settlements are made public only at the time of a board vote. If a board votes on a proposed settlement before the full union membership has voted, the board may withhold information on contract terms until after a union vote occurs.
The taxpayers as usual are out of the equation!

No Sunshine Law violations. Negotiations do not fall under the law. Once a board presents a contract at a voting session, all portions of the contact become public knowledge no matter what party votes first
Post Negotiation News

Latrobe, PA

#9 May 15, 2014
Lucky wrote:
<quoted text>
No Sunshine Law violations. Negotiations do not fall under the law. Once a board presents a contract at a voting session, all portions of the contact become public knowledge no matter what party votes first
The taxpayers do not find out what the terms of the contract are until after the fact. There is no recourse. On a rare instance, the terms may be leaked to the media and the tax payers will get involved. When you have a Board and union voting in secrecy you have no democracy.

Thanks for your knowledge of the Sunshine Law Exemptions.
Comfortably Numb

Evans City, PA

#11 May 19, 2014
What repercussions would you recommend for not settling quickly? Any money the district would be forced to pay is just more taxpayer money spent. You can't force the employees to pay anything either because of the union. That idea just won't work.

I don't see how allowing public input would help. If anything it would drag out the process... Would hearings be required every time each side presents a new proposal?
House Bill 1411

Latrobe, PA

#12 May 21, 2014
Comfortably Numb wrote:
What repercussions would you recommend for not settling quickly? Any money the district would be forced to pay is just more taxpayer money spent. You can't force the employees to pay anything either because of the union. That idea just won't work.
I don't see how allowing public input would help. If anything it would drag out the process... Would hearings be required every time each side presents a new proposal?
With the current status quo there is no transparency. The system is rigged. If the public had the terms of the agreement unions would temper their demands.
Troll

Latrobe, PA

#13 May 21, 2014
House Bill 1411 wrote:
<quoted text>
With the current status quo there is no transparency. The system is rigged. If the public had the terms of the agreement unions would temper their demands.
Keep up the bitterness. After all, there is full transparency in the PA state government. Hilarious bro!
PA Government

Latrobe, PA

#14 May 22, 2014
Troll wrote:
<quoted text>
Keep up the bitterness. After all, there is full transparency in the PA state government. Hilarious bro!
PA government is historically almost as bad as LA under Kingfish Huey Long. We will never know.
Public Scrutiny

Latrobe, PA

#15 May 22, 2014
I am not a fan of The federal No Child Left Behind law but it has helped open school performance to unprecedented public scrutiny. Now it is time to bring equal transparency to the collective bargaining process.
Lucky

Pittsburgh, PA

#16 May 22, 2014
Public Scrutiny wrote:
I am not a fan of The federal No Child Left Behind law but it has helped open school performance to unprecedented public scrutiny. Now it is time to bring equal transparency to the collective bargaining process.
And how would you do this? It is one thing to think something should be done, but another to do it. Putting an emphasis on both sides is a method that has been discussed. If a settlement date would be set by the state for districts and a penalty on all sides(teachers, administrators, and district) is assessed, there would be incentive for all sides to settle. It would take action by the state. A change is needed, but total transparency doesn't seem to be an answer.
Incentives

Latrobe, PA

#17 May 23, 2014
Lucky wrote:
<quoted text>
And how would you do this? It is one thing to think something should be done, but another to do it. Putting an emphasis on both sides is a method that has been discussed. If a settlement date would be set by the state for districts and a penalty on all sides(teachers, administrators, and district) is assessed, there would be incentive for all sides to settle. It would take action by the state. A change is needed, but total transparency doesn't seem to be an answer.
Lucky a settlement date is a good idea. In states like OH and NJ the taxpayers have a referendum on teacher contracts. They found that the school boards were not objective.
All Quiet

Latrobe, PA

#18 Jul 8, 2014
Does anyone know how the negotiations between the Board and the Derry Area Education Association are going?

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