Deirdre Boyd: Set record straight
As a teacher, a member of the Steamboat Springs Education Association and a member of the collaborative bargaining team that negotiates salaries, benefits and policies on behalf of the entire staff (SSEA members and non-members alike, including all classified and certified staff), I know first-hand how important it is to have a positive and trusting working relationship with the school board.
As a result, I would like to address some of the misunderstanding and misinformation that is circulating about SSEA’s decision to endorse and donate to several school board candidates in this election.
Last week’s article about the campaign did a nice job explaining the campaign funding, but SSEA is still being accused of using outside money to fund candidates, and that simply is not true.
SSEA extended several invitations to all six of the school board candidates to meet with our executive board (comprised of local teachers/members) to discuss their goals and priorities for education in our community. Three of the six candidates refused to meet with us. Upon meeting with the other three candidates, we determined their views on education aligned with those of our members, and we chose to endorse
At that point, we donated to two of their campaigns. We are a private organization with voluntary membership. Our local members pay dues, but in addition to their dues, members have an option to donate money into a separate fund that is earmarked for campaign contributions. If a member does not want to donate to campaigns, they can opt out of that portion and not contribute to the campaign fund.
That campaign money goes into a small donor fund kept in escrow by the Colorado Education Association, our umbrella organization, but it is our local money that we use to fund our local candidates. Apparently, that small donor fund is what Roger Good meant by an “out of town organization with a catchy name.”
As the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” The portrayal of SSEA campaign funding as coming from out of town is not accurate — it is local money from local teachers, going to local candidates.
SSEA is a professional association of local teachers who care deeply about our profession, about education and about our students — your children. The teachers who are not members of SSEA also care deeply about all of these issues. We are all professionals who do our best every day to care for and love and educate your children.
Despite our varying opinions about unions or associations, everyone in this community cares about providing the best possible education for our children. Let’s continue to work together to that end, and to keep that control local.
Steamboat Springs High School teacher,
Steamboat Springs, CO
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