By Steve Gunn
CINCINNATI – It’s generally accepted across the nation that public facilities and property – paid for by taxpayers of all political stripes – should not be used to benefit any particular political campaign.
But the Cincinnati teachers union somehow has the idea that it should be exempt from that policy.
The Cincinnati Federation of Teachers filed a motion last week in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to be exempted from a 2002 agreement between the school district and a local anti-tax group that says the district shall not use property or personnel for political purposes, according to a story published by the Cincinnati.com.
The union says the agreement violates employees’ First Amendment right to free speech.
The anti-tax group, the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST), is currently suing the school district for an apparent violation of the 2002 agreement. That’s because teachers used the school’s email system to communicate about plans to promote the district’s property tax renewal proposal that was on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The union says there was nothing wrong with that activity because the teachers acted on their own without direction from school administrators, the news report said. The union also claims Ohio law and its collective bargaining agreement allow them to promote millage proposals because the outcome of the elections affects their compensation.
The CFT wants the court to rule that its members are not affected by the 2002 agreement.
“We’re here to stand up for the rights of CFT and their members to express their First Amendment right,” said Donald Mooney, an attorney for the union.
What a bunch of baloney.
Public schools are funded by taxpayers of many different political persuasions. The schools are, in fact, the public’s property. And the public’s property should never be used to promote one political point of view over another. When that occurs, some taxpayers are in effect being forced to finance political efforts that they don’t support or approve of.
Teachers unions typically believe they should have a right to be as political as they desire to further their agenda. But they are dead wrong. They are allowed to use school property in the course of their work as school employees. They have no right – legal or moral – to use that equipment to promote their political positions.
We hope – and certainly expect – the judge to laugh the union out of the courtroom on this issue.