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Release contract details to the public

Congratulations to the Dixon teachers and school board for negotiating a contract agreement. But why keep it a secret? Let the public see it. Now.

Published: Thursday, March 14, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

The Dixon teachers strike has ended. That is good news.

We join parents, students and the community in rejoicing that teachers are back on the job after a 9-day strike.

Details of the tentative contract, reached early Wednesday, have not been released.

That is bad news.

The public should not have to wait to learn the details until the middle of next week.

Teachers are expected to ratify the contract Monday.

The school board is expected to approve the contract Wednesday.

Only then, after the contract receives final approval, will the public learn its details, the result of a secrecy pact between the school board and teachers’ union.

That’s wrong.

Taxpayers certainly will be asked to dig more deeply into their pockets to pay for salary increases and benefits for teachers.

As the financiers of the contract, why should public not be informed now as to what it contains?

While during negotiations, the release of contract strategies could give one side or the other a bargaining advantage, that situation no longer exists.

The negotiations are over.

A settlement has been reached.

Ratification apparently is expected by both sides.

So why not release the details now?

Why keep them a secret?

What do board members and teachers think would happen if the public catches wind of the contract’s contents before it is ratified?

Are the negotiators somehow embarrassed by what it contains?

Shouldn’t they be proud of the agreement that ended the strike?

Why do they fear public knowledge of their deal?

In our opinion, the tentative contract is a public document as defined by the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

And public documents, with minimal exceptions, must be made available to the public.

We strenuously object to the secrecy that shrouds the tentative contract.

We say, Let the public see it.


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