PA House Bill Would Require Public Notice Before Approval of School Collective Bargaining Agreements

If supporters of Pennsylvania House Bill 1471 get their way, Pennsylvania public school Districts soon will be required to advertise their intention to adopt a collective bargaining agreement or any employment agreement with any professional employee.  The bill has been passed by the House and referred to the Senate’s Education Committee for consideration.

If enacted, the bill would require that the notice be advertised on the school district website and in at least one local newspaper, at least 48 hours in advance of the official action to approve the agreement.  Although the bill would require the PA Department of Education to promulgate regulations relating to the form of the notice, the bill does say that the notice would need to include a “statement of the terms of the proposed collective bargaining agreement or employment contract” and an “estimate of the costs to the school district associated with the proposed collective bargaining agreement or employment contract.”

Although presumably the PDE regulations could provide some more detailed guidance, the requirement that the “terms” and “costs” be advertised is not only vague but also could serve to create an unnecessary and counterproductive burden on school districts.  It should be noted that schools already are required to act in public when approving these agreements, and advertising an oversimplified and context-free summary of a collective bargaining agreement is not likely to guarantee the kind of productive dialogue the bill’s proponents may anticipate.

Keep an eye on this one, as it makes its way through the state Senate.

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