Avoiding Future Conflicts of Interest at Edina School Board

Contract_coffee-cup-deal-1076815.jpgDuring the 2017 School Board Election, the teacher’s union endorsed 5 candidates. They spent thousands of dollars mailing postcards to households in Edina in their support. The reason the teacher’s union does that is to elect school board members that are sensitive to teacher’s interests, including higher salaries.

However, the fiscal responsibilities of the school board often conflict with the desires of the teacher’s union. Every year, we have a fiscal cost crunch. Revenues increase 2% and expenses increase 3%. Then the school board has to meet budget by reducing programs, delaying maintenance investments or not investing more in programs for our kids. Teacher’s payroll is a large expense. If the school board votes for teacher salary increases greater than expected revenue increases, they are being fiscally irresponsible.

A conflict of interest arises when school board members, who the teacher’s union helped elect, vote for salary increases greater than revenue increases.

To avoid these conflicts of interest, I recommend the school board create a policy, beginning with the 2019 election, that school board candidates do not seek endorsement by the teacher’s union. Further, if the teacher’s union does endorse a successful school board candidate, that individual must recuse themselves from voting on all salary contracts with the teacher’s union.