Weekend Poll: Should AA BOE Members Accept Campaign Donations from the Teachers’ Union?
On the one hand, Board of Education members in Ann Arbor are cheap dates. The Michigan Education Association and the Ann Arbor Teachers Association Political Action Committees give relatively modest (in the grand scheme of political donations) amounts to school board members.
So what does the MEA get? The union receives $680 in dues per year from each member of the Ann Arbor Teachers Association, that’s some $748,000 from 1,100 members. Then, there’s the MESSA money. The MEA owns the MESSA health insurance company, and yearly collects millions in “marketing fees.” The MESSA health insurance option is negotiated into school employee contracts in districts throughout Michigan, including in Washtenaw County, and in Ann Arbor.
Yearly there are, then, tens of millions of taxpayer dollars in play for the MEA and its affiliates in Washtenaw County alone. Looking at the situation this way, one could argue that spending $1,000 on a school board member speaks volumes about the political savvy of the MEA-PAC and its parent the National Education Association (NEA). It also speaks volumes about the lack of political savvy on the part of school board candidates, as well as those who do get elected using MEA-PAC donations.
The donations help board members get elected, but in accepting the MEA-PAC donations are AAPS BOE members compromising their objectivity and acting, perhaps even unethically? Or, conversely, is all fair in love, war, and school board elections? You decide.
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