By Steve Gunn
GENEVA, Ill. – There’s always at least one group that wants to keep public school collective bargaining behind closed doors.
It’s usually local teachers union officials who don’t want the public to know about their list of expensive, budget-breaking demands.
But that’s not the case in the Geneva Community Unit School District 304 in Illinois, where union officials have been negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with the school board since August.
Union officials recently agreed to meet with a concerned group of parents from a local elementary school who want to know how the collective bargaining process might impact their children, according to a report from the Chicago Daily Herald.
But then Superintendent Kent Mutchler stepped in and cancelled the meeting, “citing concerns over the confidential nature of the contract negotiation talks.”
It’s usually school boards and administrators who want to share negotiation details with the public. They want taxpayers to understand how unions throw financial concerns to the wind and try to squeeze every penny they can possibly get from the school district.
Yet Mutchler wants to keep the process private, as if taxpayers don’t have a right to at least observe the negotiations.
Union collective bargaining agreements are filled with costs that drain schools of millions of dollars per year. Those dollars are provided by overburdened taxpayers. Telling them they have no right to watch the school board negotiate with their money would be like telling Americans they have no right to watch Congress debate a major spending bill.
Open the doors to the bargaining room and allow that union/parent meeting, Mr. Mutchler. This is the business of the people and you have no moral right to shut them out.