Contract Negotiations More Public than in Years Past
The school board’s publication of the contract proposals is an uncommon decision.
This year’s contract negotiations between the school board and the teachers union have been a bit more public than normal.
That’s because the Brecksville-Broadview Heights Board of Education decided to publish the contract proposals from both sides while negotiations were still underway.
Typically, the proposals aren’t made available to the public. In fact, Michele Prater, media relations consultant for the Ohio Education Association, called the move “unprecedented,” and said that it was the first time she’s heard of such in Ohio. The teachers union for Brecksville-Broadview Heights is part of the Ohio Education Association. Prater said she thinks the decision to publish the proposals throws into question the board’s desire to negotiate in good faith.
It was a new choice for the school board—and an unusual one—said President David Tryon, but it was one that the board made for a few reasons:
- The board believes that the proposals are public record.
- The board received a public records request for the proposals after they were submitted. Rather than give them to one person, the board decided to make them available to anyone.
- Overall, the change is part of the school board’s attempt to operate in a more transparent way.
The publication caught the Brecksville-Broadview Heights Education Association off-guard, said crisis chair for the union Ben Lesh. He added that he wasn’t entirely surprised given the political climate. Both education and unions have come under scrutiny in recent years.
Lesh said the union did not know that the school board was planning to make the proposals public in advance. The union is planning to publish its own site to tell its side of the story, too.
Teachers and other staff members attended the school board meeting on Monday to show their concern over the proposal.
The current contract runs out at the end of June. The proposals, along with the current contract, can be found on the school board's website.