Conservative Group Sues Boise School District Over Union Contract

Sep 3, 2015

Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman outside the capitol building.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The conservative watchdog group Idaho Freedom Foundation announced a lawsuit Thursday against the Boise School District and its teachers union, the Boise Education Association. Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman says part of the district’s master labor agreement with the union violates Idaho’s constitution.

The Boise Education Association president is a Boise teacher but once elected, he or she focuses on union business rather than teaching. The master agreement states the Education Association pays the president’s salary but the district will partially reimburse the union for that expense.

“The District shall reimburse the Association the cost of salary and benefits of a first year teacher,” the contract says.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation is asking a judge to toss out that part of the contract, to declare the practice unconstitutional, to prevent teachers from taking paid leave to attend union events and for legal fees.

“Instead of spending money for books or computers or classroom supplies, the money is instead being diverted to the teachers union,” Hoffman says. “In this diversion of tax payer dollars the union benefits at the expense of Idaho school children.”

The Boise Education Association has not yet responded to requests for comment. A Boise School District spokesman writes:

“Boise School District Administration and Board of Trustees do not comment about pending litigation. However, it’s important for people to remember that for the last 20 years Boise School District has benefited from a longstanding collaborative relationship with the Boise Education Association. This partnership continues to foster a culture of respect and teamwork in the district where our professional educators are valued for their work in ensuring our community’s students are provided every opportunity to succeed in college, career and citizenship. It is due to this positive ongoing working relationship that Boise School District is highly regarded in our state and nation as a high performing comprehensive public school system.” - Boise School District

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