A reader writes:

I am somewhat new to really watching my local schools and have gotten an education fast! How much of a factor has the union been in school board elections? I found it odd that it was the union sponsoring a candidate forum instead of some group that would, at least in appearance, be more neutral – League of Women Voters or something.

Unions have every right in the world to organize and do everything they can (legally and morally) to elect candidates to school boards that will take a very favorable pro-union position when it comes to the contract between a school district and the union.

If parents, taxpayers, business owners, farmers and other community members don’t want the unions to be the only organized force in a school board election, they have to get organized themselves.

The only way to be a countervailing force against organized unions who are putting time, money and talent into school board elections is to be willing to do the same thing on behalf of school board candidates who will not take a narrowly pro-union view when it comes time to negotiations with the union.

The reader notes:

Also, it says in their minutes that they have other labor unions lined up to support the candidates that the teacher’s endorse.

Specifically, what the union minutes for March 1, 2007 say is:

Numerous Labor organizations have agreed to help elect the candidates that the Teachers Union decides to support.

I assume this means that non-teacher unions (such as local chapters of the AFL-CIO, the SEIU, and other municipal employee unions) have struck a deal with the local teacher’s union that they will encourage their members to vote for the school board candidates that our local teacher’s union endorses.

Thanks to my reader for noticing this.

If what we want to do in the District is have school board members who are focused on the good of the whole district rather than a narrow special interest, the hard work of political organizing needs to occur.

I’d also like to note that if District 211 wasn’t signing no-bid contracts for electricity, there’d be more money for teachers.

Ultimately, the responsibility for the collective bargaining agreement lies with the school board. And that means it really lies with the voters and with community members who are willing to step forward with courage and leadership.