Under a bill being considered by the Michigan Senate, union leaders would no longer be able to receive taxpayer-funded leave time to work on union business rather than educating students or working for public school districts.
The bill was introduced by state Rep. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy, and passed in the House last year.
"Each dollar spent on a union official is a dollar taken from the classroom," Rep. Knollenberg said last year. "The last thing people should have to worry about is whether their tax dollars are actually being spent on their children, not union activities."
Capitol Confidential broke the story of how much taxpayer money was being spent on strictly union business last March by sending Freedom of Information Act Requests to every district. Michigan public schools spend millions every year paying for this privilege, with 25 districts paying for at least one full-time union head to do non-educational work.
As the story from last March documented, some examples were particularly egregious.
For example, Chippewa Valley School District paid a combined $208,287 in compensation for two union personnel to deal 100 percent with union issues. One of those teachers sits on the Michigan Education Association’s board of directors. Chippewa Valley asked residents to approve a $27 million special education millage increase last November, which ultimately failed.
Michael Van Beek, director of the education policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said previously that the cost is two-fold for districts.
“Taxpayers pay twice when districts grant unions these privileges,” he said. “They’ve got to foot the bill for the union boss’ pay and for the pay of somebody else to actually teach while the union boss enjoys release time. It’s an arrangement that has no positive impact for students, parents or taxpayers.”