The Last to Know

Last week the Crestwood Area School Board tentatively agreed to a new contract with the school district’s local union leadership. In keeping with the prevailing trend across the commonwealth, the board opted against revealing the details of the agreement.

This kind of secrecy is overwhelming opposed by Pennsylvanians. According to a recent poll commissioned by CF, 73 percent support transparency in government union contract negotiations. Yet, taxpayers continue to be shut out of negotiations.

Case in point, before the contract in the Crestwood School District is ratified, the school board, local union leadership, PSEA, and members of the local teachers union will all have had time to review the details. Yet the most important group—the taxpayers—who fund the process and the contracts it produces, will be left in the dark. 

It’s difficult to conceive of a more unfair arrangement to taxpayers. When the people footing the bill are the last to know what they’re paying for, something is amiss.

Passing legislation pending in the State House—Senate Bill 644 & Senate Bill 645—is a necessary first step to ending the culture of secrecy. Both bills would make the collective bargaining process more transparent by requiring the text of contracts to be posted online before final ratification, along with their costs.