The following is from UEA about the Association Leave bill addressed in the House Education Committee yesterday.
"House Bill 183 would prohibit a local school board from granting paid association leave for certain employee association or union duties.
• The bill takes away control from local school boards to determine what services are beneficial. This bill micromanages the affairs of public education at the local level.
• Local association presidents save their school districts money by resolving legal problems at the lowest level, often acting as the liaison for the district human resources department.
• Association presidents represent thousands of employees who, as a result of their leadership and representation, are able to remain in the classroom and concentrate on student success.
• Most school districts provide financial support for their principals so they might belong to their associations, and to Board members who benefit from membership in and training provided by their respective associations. With thousands of employees in these districts, isn’t it wise to ensure that we have a collaborative working relationship with our single largest and most critical employee group – the educators?
• Collaboration goes far beyond the annual bargaining of a contract. We ask association presidents to serve on numerous district standing committees – dealing, for example, with health insurance, special education, evaluation, curriculum, calendaring, and shared governance – as well as other task forces. We gather valuable input from employees. We receive credible and necessary information with which to make wise decisions that benefit the district.
• By having mutually agreed upon contracts, we avoid costly legal challenges to what might otherwise be arbitrary and capricious employment decisions. We believe that by jointly solving problems at an informal level, or avoiding problems altogether, the school district and taxpayers save money.
• Based on our tracking of the presidents, far more than 50 percent of the time expended by presidents directly benefits their school district. Districts participating with Associations believe this is a good investment. If it were not, they would have terminated the agreements years ago."