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Taxpayer-paid teachers' union dues

Taxpayer-paid teachers' union dues

Mitch Coffman
October 5, 2010
Mitch Coffman
October 5, 2010

A close look at the master contract between the Board of Trustees of the Boise School District and the Boise Education Association reveals the district pays teachers extra, off-the-salary-grid income that is meant to go straight into union coffers.

The Boise School District’s master contract says the district will provide “each professional employee . . . 1.132% of the average classroom teacher’s salary of the State of Idaho for the preceding year that may be used for professional activities.” The very next paragraph states, “The (Boise School) Board agrees, as a matter of convenience to certificated and non-certificated (Boise Education) Association members, to provide for payroll deductions of dues to the Association and its affiliates.”

In 2009-2010 the Boise School District spent $759,000, or $464 per eligible employee, to fulfill this master contract provision. The official word from the District is that it intends for each employee’s $464 to be used “to encourage professional educators to participate in professional activities and organizations, assist with continuing education expenses, purchase professional journals and books, etc.” Considering it’s part of the negotiated contract under which all Boise teachers are obliged to work, union members or not, this is likely a strongly-encouraged intent.

One professional organization a Boise teacher could “participate in” using this money is the local chapter of the teachers’ union, the Boise Education Association. Union membership for a brand-new Boise teacher with no teaching experience is $502.25 per year. The $464 per year stipend surely promotes union membership among beginning teachers who otherwise might think they can’t afford it. Further, “as a matter of convenience” those dues are automatically transferred from teachers’ paychecks to the union. This certainly is convenient – for the Boise Education Association.

Because much of the tax money going into the Boise School District comes from the State of Idaho, every Idaho taxpayer helps pay for Boise teachers to belong to the teachers’ union. It is unlikely the Boise Education Association keeps the interests of the Idaho taxpayer foremost in mind as it lobbies the Idaho legislature.

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