Voters to weigh in on collective-bargaining agreements for teachers

A measure to ensure that school board discussions of collective bargaining agreements with school teachers are open to the public will be on this year’s ballot.

The Colorado Secretary of State said proponents of the measure, a Denver-based right-leaning think tank, submitted enough signatures to get the measure on the fall ballot.

The purpose of the measure, which will appear on the ballot as Initiative 104, is to require all school boards to keep collective bargaining discussions with teachers and other school workers open to the public.

It is being pushed by Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, which opposes unions in general and collective bargaining specifically.

The measure, however, still allows school boards to discuss certain aspects of collective bargaining issues behind closed doors, but only if they are confined to negotiation strategies and to giving specific instructions to negotiators.

The measure, which would make a statutory change rather than a constitutional one, also allows school boards to hold executive session discussions on specific personnel matters, such as those that deal with an individual’s employee contract.

The proposal would require all other collective bargaining discussions to be held in public during regular or special meetings that are advertised at least 24 hours in advance.

According to the Independence Institute’s website, 41 of the state’s 178 school districts have one or more collective bargaining agreements with their teachers and staff, including District 51 in Mesa County and Montrose RE-1J.

The effort to get the measure onto the ballot collected nearly 95,000 valid signatures.


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