The Traverse City Area Public School district is raising transparency to a new level by posting on its website the contracts it proposes to unionized employees. At present, only the proposed transportation employee union contract is available, but eventually, all of them will be.

The local teachers union says it's fine with the new policy, noting that existing contracts are already posted online. This is a reversal from last year, when the union president at the time called the district’s release of information about negotiations then underway a “pre-emptive strike to try to discredit the union,” and filed an unfair labor practice complaint. (Details on the current TCAPS teacher contract can be found here.)

The about-face is a positive change for parents, students and taxpayers. The next step is to make the entire bargaining process transparent, as TCAPS superintendent Steve Cousins recommends. There’s no good reason not to, since these negotiations between democratically elected public officials and government employees directly impact the allocation of taxpayer resources.

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Given this, the Traverse City school district is creating a model that other districts should follow as well.

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